My name is Ellen Mayer. I'm a Chicago-based journalist, and I'm the host and producer for IlliNoise. If you're a curious Chicagoan who likes public radio, you may have heard my voice on WBEZ. I started my career interning and reporting stories for Curious City, a program that answers audience questions about Chicago, the region, and its people.
Why did I start this podcast?
I may be a journalist, but I'm not an expert in local politics. I am a just an average constituent in the state of Illinois, and recently I've been frustrated by the lack of accessible information about my local government. Political news tends to be aimed at insiders: people who know the lingo, the context, and the history of our state government. But what about the rest of us who aren't experts? I've been wondering: Where is the news outlet that helps average citizens understand their local government. Then one day I realized maybe I could make it, using the same audience-driven model that I learned at Curious City.
I believe that every Illinoisan cares about our state government, even those of us who don't follow local politics or even vote. We all need access to clear, useful information about how our government works. In the overwhelming mess of information on social media, we need a news outlet that will help us make sense of the noise. And we need a platform where everyone's questions and needs are taken seriously, regardless of expertise.
My mission for IlliNoise is to meet those needs. I promise I will never condescend but I also won't assume what you already know or understand. I promise to make each episode as accessible and engaging as possible. I promise that we will have fun. I promise to always listen to you and prioritize your curiosity in my work. When I fall short (and I'm sure I will) I promise to take your feedback to heart. This podcast is a work in progress; I promise that it will evolve as I learn more about you and what you need.