Today is the first day in a new chapter of the story that began when City Limits was launched in 1976: As of yesterday afternoon, after four and a half years as a program of the Community Service Society of New York, City Limits is once again an independent, nonprofit entity.

The move toward separation was part of the plan from the moment CSS took us on in November 2009. While the two organizations' common interests in economic empowerment and social justice made a partnership natural, CSS saw its role as merely providing a safe haven for a key media voice to get back to that place where all reportage should take place: an independent space.

CSS never aspired to own a media company long term, and over the short time that it did, CSS erected as robust a firewall as any editor could design. Now that David Jones isn't my boss anymore, I can say without reservation that there was never a hint of editorial interference from him or anyone else at the Society. I never even heard directly about angry phone calls that I know Jones received because of articles we published.

But both sides were aware of the appearance of conflict, and so, getting City Limits back out on its own was always a goal. Over the years, CSS provided more than $2 million in funding, and the Society has agreed to provide grants to us over the next three years.

During our time at CSS we relaunched our main site and our Bronx Bureau and Brooklyn Bureau subsidiaries, won a lot of awards, partnered with some of the leading media and community voices in the city and elsewhere, and attracted support from a host of prestigious foundations.

More importantly, on everything from food stamps to prison sex abuse, public housing to private contracting, teacher evaluations to brownfields, we broke important, deep stories.

In coming months, we'll be unveiling a redesigned website, new editorial features and events to foster civic engagement. It's an exciting time for City Limits, but also a time when we need help from readers who, like us, believe that independent media is key to building a better and more just New York City.

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