Picking Up Where Newspapers Leave Off

Dougherty, Geoff
December 2007
Nieman Reports;Winter2007, Vol. 61 Issue 4, p62
The article presents a first person account of the founding and operation of a hyperlocal news Web site devoted to covering Chicago, Illinois. The author, a former investigative reporter for "The Chicago Tribune" newspaper, left his job in 2005 convinced there was a need for such a service due to the many areas of the city's political, economic, and social life which were not adequately covered or covered at all by the newspaper, Chicago's largest. The author frankly admits having a very vague idea of what such a Web site might be when he first met with volunteers for the project in late 2005. He describes how the enthusiasm and expertise in various subjects of those volunteers enabled the Web site to begin operating much sooner than was expected. Two years later, the Web site is visited by 15,000 persons a mongh, has 75 regular contributors who cover some aspect of Chicago, and has received a grant from the John S. & James L. Knight Foundation to expand its operations. The author is proud of the Web site's progress, but notes that Internet advertising, an important part of the site's original business plan, has so far produced almost no revenue.


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