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Ash-har Quaraishi.jpgAsh-har Quraishi is, without question, a sign of things to come in the journalism biz. He is joining the ranks of Chicago-based journalists wearing at least two hats -- TV correspondent and print reporter. Nowadays, it helps for journalists to have as many useful skills as possible with staffs at almost all news outlets much smaller than they were as recently as five years ago. Public television outlet WTTW-Channel 11 and the Chicago News Cooperative, a new local-news-oriented entity launched last fall, will share the services of Quraishi, who most recently was an investigative reporter for KCTV-Channel 5 in Kansas City, Mo. Quraishi also previously served as CNN's bureau chief in Islamabad, Pakistan. In his new dual role, Quraishi will report for WTTW's "Chicago Tonight" and for the Chicago News Cooperative, which currently provides a Chicago-focused news report twice weekly for the New York Times. "With his investigative reporting experience, his superior digital skills and the fact that he was raised in Chicago and is a product of our public schools, we expect he (Quraishi) will be a major asset to 'Chicago Tonight,' wttw.com and the Chicago News Cooperative," said Dan Schmidt, president and CEO of WTTW.

A group of Chicago journalists are joining forces to form the Chicago News Cooperative, a venture designed to provide Chicago-centric news and commentary on the Web, in print and over the airwaves. James O'Shea, a former managing editor of the Chicago Tribune, is the CNC's launch editor.

The cooperative already has plans to provide content for two clients -- the New York Times and Chicago public television outlet WTTW-Channel 11. Starting Nov. 20, the CNC team will produce two pages of news and commentary for Friday and Sunday editions of the New York Times distributed in the Chicago area. Along with O'Shea, former Trib managing editor James Warren has signed on with the CNC to write a regular column for the cooperative's pages in the New York Times. In addition, CNC will provide content for WTTW's "Chicago Tonight" program, though details of that arrangement have not been fully worked out yet. CNC also is developing a Web site called Chicago Scoop that will go live in early 2010.

CNC said it is in talks with other potential partners, including public radio station WBEZ-FM (91.5). During its start-up phase, the Chicago News Cooperative will be housed in space at WTTW. The start-up news gathering venture will seek input from an advisory board chaired by Peter Osnos, founder of Public Affairs Book. Other advisory board members include Dan Schmidt, president and CEO of WTTW; Newton Minow, senior emeritus partner at Sidley & Austin; Martin Koldyke, former chairman of WTTW; Anne Marie Lipinski, former editor of the Trib, and Michael Davies, president and CEO of Alphazeta Interactive.

Funding for the launch of the CNC is coming from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. The CNC is seeking additional funding from individuals, foundations and eventually membership in the cooperative.

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Lewis Lazare has written the Media Mix column for the Chicago Sun-Times for the past seven and a half years.

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