The Sunflower

As Wichitans #BlackoutICT, what’s being blacked out about the Chung Report?

%23BlackoutICT+social+media+images+are+available+for+free+on+Blackout+ICT%27s+website%2C+which+encourages+Wichitans+to+%22turn+pride+into+action.%22+%28Courtesy+blackoutict.com%29
#BlackoutICT social media images are available for free on Blackout ICT's website, which encourages Wichitans to

#BlackoutICT social media images are available for free on Blackout ICT's website, which encourages Wichitans to "turn pride into action." (Courtesy blackoutict.com)

#BlackoutICT social media images are available for free on Blackout ICT's website, which encourages Wichitans to "turn pride into action." (Courtesy blackoutict.com)

If you see the Wichita flag blacked out this month, it’s not for Halloween. The darkened flag was made as a call to action for the city.

“Because we love Wichita, we will not surrender to its future fate,” reads the Chung Report’s description of the flag. “It’s time to stop hoping and start doing.”

Focus Forward, an initiative championed by the Wichita Community Foundation with a wide range of goals, inspired the Chung Report. Focus Forward took off in 2015 after James Chung, a Wichita native and president of NYC-based strategy firm Reach Advisors, presented Wichita with a series of presentations commissioned by the Wichita Community Foundation. Chung gave the city with four key takeaways: Wichita is no longer a job creator, is in need of economy-driving talent, lacks entrepreneurship, and has a perception challenge.

And #BlackoutICT is the Chung Report’s current push. It’s a collaboration with Janelle King, owner of local home decor shop The Workroom, to get Wichitans not following the Chung Report’s movement — “fighting against the fall of our city” — onboard by making a pledge to improve Wichita.

There’s an underlying question that #BlackoutICT raises, though: what’s blacked out about the Chung Report?

It’s unclear where the Chung Report’s data is coming from. There is no full written report, Chung Report editor John DeCesaro said.

Requests for the report were referred to Chung’s presentations and to the Chung Report’s website, thechungreport.com. The raw data is unavailable.

And thechungreport.com has nothing to do with the actual James Chung or his firm. The website is ran and maintained by the Bastian family — who own Fidelity Bank and are connected to the Chung-partnered Wichita Community Foundation — and who asked Chung for permission to use his name on the website.

Outside of his visits for presentations, the last of which was in June, Chung himself is hands off.

Which leads to another big, blacked out question — outside of the business world, do Wichitans care about the Chung Report? That remains to be seen.

And so, as the city is grown and shaped by the Chung Report and its supporters, The Sunflower will dig into the unknowns and make sure it’s done in a way that doesn’t leave anything — or anyone — in the dark.

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About the Writer
Andrew Linnabary, Reporter

Andrew Linnabary is the 2018-2019 Digital Managing Editor of The Sunflower.

He is a senior studying journalism and minoring in English. Linnabary is from Wichita, Kansas. After graduation, he plans to pursue a career in journalism.

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