If you want to read Reboot Illinois, the political journalism website and daily newsletter, now it’s going to cost you.
After four years of free access to its readers, the digital source for news, commentary and analysis about state and local government will be shifting next week to a paid subscription model.
“We’re moving from a public affairs journalism organization primarily supported by seed investments and advertising to one supported mainly by your subscriptions,” publisher Madeleine Doubek emailed readers Thursday.
“We started Reboot Illinois four years ago with the help of some seed funding from prominent Chicagoans who were concerned, like we were, that citizens were not getting reliable and fair reporting, in-depth analysis, or a wide range of commentary and infographics about our local and state governments in Illinois,” she wrote. “Our mission has been and remains to inform, engage and activate Illinoisans about the governments we all own.”
Reboot Illinois was bankrolled in 2012 by hedge fund manager Anne Dias, founder of Aragon Global Management (and ex-wife of billionaire Ken Griffin), who hired the editorial and technology teams, and oversaw the platform’s initial digital and marketing efforts. Earlier this year Dias sold her ownership interest to AFK Media Group, a Chicago-based investor group headed by entrepreneur Anthony Knierim.
Doubek said Thursday that AFK Media remains “fully behind” the mission. “From the start, Reboot Illinois was always envisioned as a self-supporting, profitable media firm and this is another step to get us closer to that goal,” she told me.
(In her email to readers, Doubek noted: “In the past decade, the rates advertisers pay throughout digital media have been dropping fast. Advertising simply isn’t enough to support our work any longer.”)
At the outset, subscribers will be charged $12 per month or a discounted rate of $120 a year. Current readers will be offered a 50 percent discount for the first four months, or an annual rate of $100 if they sign up before year end.
In July Reboot Illinois partnered with PolitiFact, the Pulitzer Prize-winning fact-checking initiative launched by Poynter Institute’s Tampa Bay Times.