The TRiiBE is excited to welcome South Side native Corli Jay to the team as its community investment reporter. She’s coming to our newsroom after two years on the general assignment desk at Crain’s Chicago Business, where she focused on the media beat.

The new community investment beat at The TRiiBE is supported with the help of a grant from Report for America (RFA), a national service program that places talented emerging journalists in local newsrooms to report on under-covered topics and communities. Jay was selected as one of many journalists to the 2024-2025 RFA corps.

“Like most Chicagoans, my family’s lineage here goes back decades to when my great-grandparents migrated here from the South. My grandparents were born and raised here and so were my parents. Being able to write about the city that runs through my veins is such an honor,” Jay said. “In my role, I hope to elevate the voices of Chicago kids like me who fought everyday to defend their city and shine a light on its beauty. I aim to elevate the voices of everyday Black Chicagoans trying to make a way for their families and those who, for so long, have not seen their full selves reflected in the media.”

Under the community investment beat at The TRiiBE, Jay will cover Black Chicago communities experiencing decades of disinvestment that has led to population decline, school closures, and dwindling affordable housing and healthcare options. She’ll also track investment efforts in those communities, and the impact of those investments on public safety.

Jay will join our award-winning Editorial desk with reporter Tonia Hill, who will focus on the systemic racism beat, and culture correspondent Jerome “Rome J.” Johnson, who covers arts and entertainment.

The TRiiBE is a new host newsroom partner with Report for America, a two-year program (with an option for three) that delivers a wide range of benefits to its corps members. Beyond paying up to half of the journalists’ salaries, RFA provides ongoing training and mentorship by leading journalists, peer networking, and memberships to select professional organizations.

“This role with Report for America and The TRiiBE is great for me right now because, as an early-career journalist, I have learned so much but still have lots to learn,” Jay said. “Having a focused beat will allow me to tap into a new skill, and as a community investment reporter, I hope to build more relationships with the very communities that I am a part of while learning more about the different neighborhoods that make up Chicago.”

In 2018, Jay graduated from Chicago State University with a bachelor’s degree in media arts. She began her journalism career as a 2020 reporting fellow with City Bureau, where she reported on Chicago’s city budget and the impacts of environmental racism. During the fellowship, Jay and her reporting cohort won a Peter Lisagor Award for “Best In-Depth Reporting in a Community Newspaper” for their work on “Chicago’s heated 2021 budget season.”

Jay landed her first part-time reporter role in 2021 at the Hyde Park Herald, Chicago’s oldest neighborhood newspaper. She also freelanced for multiple Chicago outlets, including the Chicago Reader, Chicago Magazine, the Chicago Defender and The TRiiBE. As a producer for Change Agents Podcast in 2023, Jay worked on “Navigating Homeownership,” which will be featured in a new Woodstock Institute study about fixing the Chicago Housing Authority’s Choose to Own program.

Asked what she wants TRiiBE readers to know about her and her dedication to Black Chicago, Jay said that she’s as much of a creative artist as she is a journalist. She previously participated as a youth artist in Kanye West and Rhymefest’s nonprofit, formerly named Donda’s House.

“Journalism is a cool way to be a storyteller, writing to change people’s lives by telling impactful stories on the news that shapes our reality,” Jay said. “My passion, which can often be mistaken as aggression, spans subjects such as the disinvestment on the South Side to the rights of Black people and women. I recognize how much policy choices have negatively impacted those that look like me, and as a reporter, I aim to handle those stories with care and nuance.”

is the editor-in-chief of The TRiiBE and a 2023-2024 John S. Knight Journalism Fellow.