The Real Chi: A Rebrand

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In the Fall of 2017, Free Spirit Media’s Real Chi Youth program saw a new dawn. With a focus on solutions-based storytelling and increased community engagement, a new type of newsroom was born; one that would respond to the many intersectional issues that exist for marginalized groups, create more inclusive and equitable spaces for our diverse cohort of emerging journalists and publish conscious, thought-provoking content that centers people over institutions.

In the process of our community engagement and reporting we continually faced one hurdle: the misconception of the nature of our reporting because of the connotation associated with the word “youth”. Often, our requests for interviews or media access were ignored because of an assumption that we were high school students, working on a high school project, and that our “project” was not worth their time. However, when taking the time to explain who we are and what we do, the attitude would quickly shift from one of nonchalance, to one of genuine interest and intrigue.

We realized that in order to be taken as seriously as we take ourselves, we needed to rebrand in a way that is accommodating of and appropriate for our current cohort of emerging journalists. After months of deliberation we finally settled on “THE REAL CHI: Community News from Free Spirit Media”.

This name encapsulates all that we are and all that we want to do. It is symbolic of our mission to prioritize people over institutions and tell stories about West and South side communities that are fair, true and accurately representative of these communities. We want to tell REAL stories about REAL people living the REAL realities of the various systemic inequalities plaguing black and brown communities in this city.