The Real Mainstream, also known as TRM, is a progressive, intersectional, LGBTQ+ affirming publication serving Illinois and Iowa, and available online and in print.

TRM is committed to improving the quality of discourse about and among minoritized identities, focusing on critical thinking and solutions over grievance. Our target audience includes LGBTQ+ people; Black, Indigenous and People of Color; women; people of alternative faiths; substance users; people with disabilities; and other identities that experience consistent marginalization from mainstream society.

The print edition is available in almost 150 communities throughout Illinois and Iowa, mostly in public libraries. TRM is also available by paid subscription and provides a free e-newsletter. In  2024, TRM will begin The Real Mainstream Podcast Channel, and a weekly podcast titled Try This Angle, focused on building bridges to intersectional awareness and quality discourse about marginalied identities.

Founding Principles

The Real Mainstream is founded on the principles of The Four-Way Test, an ethical code created by Rotary Club International, and on the Society of Professional Journalists’ Code of Conduct. Learn about them both below.

The Four-Way Test from Rotary Club International

About The Four-Way Test

(Author Unknown)

Any ethical system that calls for living the truth and measuring actions on the basis of benefits to others is demanding. Such a test can stir bitter conflict for those who try to balance integrity and ambition.

There are always some skeptics and negative thinkers who view The Four-Way Test as a simplistic philosophy of dubious worth, contradictory meaning, and unrealistic aims. Sizzling debates have been held in various parts of the world on its practicality as a way of living.

The Test calls for thoughtful examination of one’s motives and goals. This emphasis on truth, fairness and consideration provide a moral diet so rich that it gives some people “ethical indigestion.” …

The Four-Way Test is international, transcending national boundaries and language barriers. It knows no politics, dogma or creed. More than a code of ethics, it has all the ingredients for a successful life in every way. It can and will work in today’s society.

Few things are needed more in our society than moral integrity. The Four-Way Test will guide those who dare to use it for worthy objectives:

• choosing, winning, and keeping friends

• getting along well with others

• ensuring a happy home life

• developing high ethical and moral standards

• becoming successful in a chosen business or profession

• and becoming a better citizen and better example for the next generation.

Eloquently simple, stunning in its power, undeniable in its results, The Four-Way Test offers a fresh and positive vision in the midst of a world full of tension, confusion and uncertainty.

About The SPJ’s Code of Conduct

The SPJ Code of Conduct is considered the universal standard to which journalists at any level should aspire. TRM tries to apply these standards while also bringing a uniquely intersectional perspective to every original article whenever possible.

SPJ Code of Ethics for journalists