Our Partner

South Side Weekly (SSW) is a local news nonprofit based in the South Side of Chicago that supports cultural and civic engagement on the South Side, and develops emerging journalists, writers, and artists. It was founded by a few students from the University of Chicago in 1995 and has been previously known as the Chicago Weekly News and Chicago Weekly. SSW covers politics, the arts, and issues of public interest, as well as oral histories, poetry, fiction, interviews, and artwork from local photographers and illustrators.

About Project

Almost all of SSW’s contributors are volunteers, which makes it imperative to maintain high levels of contributor engagement and retention. The contributor dashboard is intended to accomplish this by enhancing the contributor experience through building a centralized system for onboarding volunteers more quickly, editing and submitting pitches, exchanging feedback quickly, allowing volunteers to pick-up pending assignments, and tracking contributions. Furthermore, we are focusing on adding visualizations that can help admins when they apply for funding for SSW.

Key Features

Onboarding

Form

South Side Weekly Onboarding

People who are interested in becoming contributors can easily sign up, provide basic information, and indicate their preferred involvement at SSW.

Guidance through dashboard

South Side Weekly Guidance

Newly onboarded users can quickly understand the architecture of the dashboard from reviewable pop-ups that guide them through every page.

Pitches

Pitch submission

South Side Weekly Pitch Submission

Contributors can easily submit detailed pitch ideas with relevant tags and links for admin review.

Pitch claiming

South Side Weekly Pitch Claiming

Contributors can find pitches with open positions for the team(s) that they are on and request staff approval to claim the pitch.

Review & Approval

South Side Weekly Review & Approval

Admin can review and approve or reject pitches, while staff can approve or reject pending pitch claims from contributors.

Contributor Directory

South Side Weekly Contributor Directory

Users can easily find other users and see their positions and interests. By providing a directory, finding other SSW members is both centralized and simple.

User Profile

South Side Weekly User Profile

Users have a simple, customizable profile within the dashboard and can view other profiles to learn about fellow contributors.

Resources

South Side Weekly Resources

Users can view helpful resources, such as onboarding docs and contribution guidelines that are relevant to their role.

What's next?

Here are some of the features that our team will be prioritizing this fall as we look to enhance the capabilities of and polish the dashboard.

Visualizations of contributor demographics for staff

Staff have mentioned that providing demographic information is useful when applying for grants. Being able to leverage detailed visualizations can result in a smoother grant application process and more funding.

Staff notifications when a previously active contributor becomes inactive on the dashboard

Automatically sending staff notifications when an active contributor has not logged into the dashboard makes it easier for staff to check-in on contributors and maintain higher contributor retention.

Visualizations of progress on stories for the upcoming SSW issue and celebratory pop-ups

One of the main ways that the contributor experience can be improved is through an additional layer of transparency via easily accessible updates. In addition, celebrating contributors’ wins, like when they submit a pitch, shows SSW’s appreciation for their work.

Extensibility

Currently, SSW is unique because most of its contributors are volunteers. The news industry is anticipating that more news nonprofits will shift to a similar model in the coming years. Thus, if we are able to extend this dashboard so that other news nonprofits can use it, we will have a broader impact.

Working as a software developer for SSW this semester has been an extremely rewarding experience as I was able to learn from more experienced members about how being a valuable asset to a project team and H4I as a whole involves building a sense of camaraderie and community in addition to all the project development. I'm proud of all the hard work we've put into this dashboard so far and I can't wait to see what more we can do with it this upcoming semester.
Aditya Jain
Hack4Impact Software Developer
Aditya Jain's photo

Meet The Team

Sahithi Muthyala Sahithi Muthyala Product Manager
Alice Fang Alice Fang Tech Lead
Amit Sawhney Amit Sawhney Tech Lead
Mustafa Ali Mustafa Ali Product Designer
Bryan Ge Bryan Ge Product Designer
Aditya Jain Aditya Jain Software Developer
Andy Wong Andy Wong Software Developer
Andrew Lester Andrew Lester Software Developer
Ayan Mallik Ayan Mallik Software Developer
Danielle Yang Danielle Yang Software Developer
Eugenia Chen Eugenia Chen Software Developer
Neha Konjeti Neha Konjeti Software Developer
Zora Zhang Zora Zhang Software Developer