Press "Enter" to skip to content


ChicagoTalks is a non-profit, local news source featuring stories from all corners of Chicagoland. Our reporters are budding journalists learning to cover various Chicagoland communities and the people in each of them. 

Founded in the fall of 2006, Columbia College Chicago professors Barbara Iverson and Suzanne McBride, with grants from J-Lab and the Knight Foundation, established the site as a working lab for journalism students. Columbia College continues to support and its sister publication,, which covers Chicago’s Austin neighborhood. In our 17th year, our goal is to showcase the voices of talented, aspiring journalists and allow them to gain professional experience they can add to their portfolio. 

We welcome interested students to submit work from both in and outside of the classroom. While The Columbia Chronicle is campus and Loop-focused, ChicagoTalks looks for stories from all of Chicagoland. We are based in the third-most populous city in the country, giving us the opportunity to tell millions of stories. Our mission is to encourage journalists to get out and tell these stories. Our site welcomes submissions of many varieties, including the arts, culture, business, politics and more.


Image by Madison Parr

Avery Heeringa is a senior communication major and journalism minor at Columbia College Chicago, graduating in May 2024. He’s passionate about all things pop culture-related, especially music. He has had work published in The Chicago ReaderStudy Breaks Magazine, The Columbia Chronicle, and has done reporting and reviews for ChicagoTalks as well. He hopes to become a professional entertainment reporter and art critic for an arts and culture focused publications such as Rolling Stone, Interview, Pitchfork, or Billboard. He has a website of his own ( where he self-publishes his own work, including reviews of music, movies, television and the occasional column. When not writing, Avery enjoys catching up with friends, going on walks, and visiting record stores to expand his growing collection. 


Jeremy Shermak earned his Ph.D. in journalism from The University of Texas at Austin and previously studied journalism at the University of Missouri and Indiana University. He earned an M.A. in writing pedagogy from DePaul University in Chicago. He practiced journalism at the Harbor Country (Mich.) News and the South Bend (Ind.) Tribune, working as a local government/sports reporter as well as a photographer. He most recently worked as a freelance sports reporter for the Malibu (Calif.) Surfside News. Outside of the newsroom, Jeremy was a managing editor at market research firm Mintel International and a media analyst at internet analytics firm comScore Networks.

When he is not in the newsroom, Jeremy is either reading, watching or researching the news. He is a huge sports fan, especially baseball and his beloved Chicago Cubs.

Click here for more information on how to submit your stories to the site.

Email us at with story pitches, further questions and information about ChicagoTalks.

Contact the ChicagoTalks Faculty Adviser, Jeremy Shermak, by emailing