The Better Government Association and the Robert R. McCormick Foundation today announced the hiring of veteran newsroom leader Reinaldo “Ronnie” Ramos as editor in chief of the BGA and the Illinois Solutions Partnership, an ambitious new collaboration to address the state’s urgent challenges through investigative reporting and solutions-focused journalism. 

Ramos will serve as the first editor in chief in the BGA’s nearly 100-year history. He will report to David Greising, president and CEO of both the BGA and the ISP. He will start his new role in mid-March.

Ramos currently serves as executive editor of the Daily Memphian, a nonprofit news site founded in 2018 in response to the shrinking of local newspaper coverage in the Tennessee city. Its paid subscriptions and newsroom size now exceeds that of the legacy local newspaper. 

Prior to the Daily Memphian, Ramos, 58, was the executive editor at the Indianapolis Star, where he also held the positions of sports director and managing editor. He has held senior leadership positions at the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, where he was executive sports editor; Fort Myers News-Press, where he was managing editor; Shreveport Times, where he was executive editor; and the Miami Herald.

A Cuban-American, Ramos was born and raised in Miami. He is fluent in Spanish. 

Ramos was part of a team at the Herald that won a Pulitzer Prize for public service for its coverage of Hurricane Andrew. Under Ramos’ editorial leadership the Indianapolis Star published its landmark investigation of sexual abuse allegations against USA Gymnastics and former team doctor Larry Nassar. 

“We’re looking for new solutions to chronic problems, and we felt that requires a fresh perspective,” said Greising. “In Ronnie, we’ve found a seasoned and skeptical journalist, with deep digital and startup experience – one who knows both how to uncover what is wrong and also find solutions to the old Chicago way.”

Launched with $10 million in McCormick Foundation grants over the next five years, and substantial support from the BGA, the Illinois Solutions Partnership will produce investigative reporting that provides the public with information about how breakdowns in government contribute to inequities, corruption and waste, combined with solutions-focused reporting that identifies ways to address them. 

Both the Daily Memphian as well as the Illinois Solutions Partnership are part of a nationwide pursuit of sustainable business models for nonprofit journalism.

“For the last two years I’ve helped build a nonprofit newsroom dedicated to local, serious news coverage,” Ramos said. “Among the things I’ve learned is that this doesn’t work without the community behind it. So that’s what we’re going to build – an online community of readers passionate about making Chicago and Illinois better run and more equitable places to live. We’re going to expose what goes wrong here, and inspire people to find ways to fix Chicago and Illinois.” 

To contact BGA’s David Greising for interviews: 312-404-8678

About the Better Government Association: A 99-year-old nonprofit based in Chicago, the BGA is Illinois’ only nonpartisan, full-service watchdog organization. It uncovers waste and wrongdoing in government, holds elected officials accountable, litigates for open records and meetings, advocates for good government, and empowers residents to engage and act.

About the Robert R. McCormick Foundation: For more than 65 years, the McCormick Foundation has invested in people and organizations across Chicago and Illinois to develop educated, informed, and engaged communities. The foundation, with more than $2 billion in assets, focuses its grant investments supporting Chicago’s South and West Side communities in the areas of economic opportunity, early education, public safety, veterans and journalism.