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The Community Service Society of New York (CSS) announced today its acquisition of City Limits magazine and the online journal City-Limits-Dot-Org (www.citylimits.org) from City Futures, Inc. The news organization will continue to operate under the name City Limits.
CSS President and CEO David R. Jones said, “This is an exciting moment and opportunity for the Community Service Society. As we see the disappearance of local reporting on critical issues facing low and moderate income New Yorkers, City Limits will continue to play a valuable role in shaping the public debate. We thank City Futures, Inc. for its decades-long commitment to public interest journalism and pledge to honor this publication’s tremendous legacy.”
The chair of the Board of Trustees of CSS, Mark Edmiston, added, “We see this acquisition as consistent with the legacy of the Community Service Society. Our history has been one of a change agent on behalf of the voiceless of our city. Today, the needs of millions of New Yorkers, who we call the “Unheard Third,” go little addressed because their issues never see the light of day in our city’s media juggernaut. Unbelievably, in the media capital of the world, many New Yorkers remain faceless. “
Andy Breslau, Executive Director of City Futures, Inc., and who served as Publisher of City Limits, congratulated CSS on its acquisition of City Limits. He remarked, “We are delighted to be able to pass the baton of stewardship of this great New York journalistic institution to CSS. We know that CSS shares our commitment to strong and objective investigative reporting, and we are confident that under its leadership City Limits will reach new journalistic heights.”
Andy Reicher, chair of the City Futures Board, added, “For more than 30 years City Limits has carried the banner of independent civic journalism, and we are delighted that this transaction will preserve that tradition and give City Limits the institutional support it needs to publish for decades more.”
City Limits, Inc. is a not-for-profit public affairs journal that will operate as an independent news organization under a restructuring currently underway. CSS has designated Walter Fields, its Vice President of Government Relations and Public Affairs, to serve as Publisher and he will inherit the current staff of City Limits. Karen Loew will continue in her role as Editor of CityLimits.org, and Jarrett Murphy will reprise his role as Editor of City Limits magazine. The organization has been relocated to the historic United Charities Building, home of the Community Service Society, at East 22nd Street and Park Avenue. Members of the media are invited to visit City Limits’ new office during its Media Open House on Tuesday, November 24, from 11 a.m. until 2 p.m.
CSS’s acquisition of City Limits, Inc. comes as a time when the reporting staffs of the city’s daily newspapers are facing cutbacks and local broadcast television is focused less on public policy and civic affairs. CSS acquired City Limits in response to this emerging trend, realizing that the concerns and issues of millions of New York City’s low-income residents were receiving less attention as a result of the paring of local media. This is a national phenomenon and across the nation new, independent news organizations are emerging to fill the void left by the downsizing of so-called “mainstream” news organizations. David Jones noted, “We were fortunate to seize the opportunity to act proactively and make an investment in the preservation of local, investigative reporting. We are lock step with similar efforts to re-imagine local public affairs reporting such as the Voice of San Diego, MinnPost and the Texas Tribune.” City Limits is a prototype of this new trend and has the benefit of nearly three decades of reporting on New York City and national issues.
Walter Fields said, “I am honored to have been entrusted with the opportunity to lead this publication as we delve into critical issues facing this city in the 21st century. The times demand that we use the tool of investigative journalism to get to the root of those issues and policies that impede social and economic mobility, and prevent this great city from reaching its full potential.
City Limits will remain a beacon for fair and objective reporting, and we look forward to its continuing service to the people of New York City.”
City Limits magazine is an investigative quarterly, available by subscription, that examines a wide range of public policy issues impacting New Yorkers. Its companion online, www.CityLimits.org, is an electronic gateway to public affairs reporting. The website’s City Limits Weekly, also available free by subscription, is a compendium of news reporting and opinion articles on hot button issues in the city. The new City Limits will increase its coverage of local government and expand its editorial focus to include reporting on the federal government. The magazine and website are undergoing an extensive redesign and re-imagining, and will be unveiled in their new forms in early 2010. City Limits will operate as an independent journalism organization and will be governed by a separate Board of Advisors, effective July 1, 2010. Until that time, a transition board with representation from CSS and City Futures will oversee all matters related to the sale and acquisition of the publications.