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My Final Post on Chicagosphere

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Mike Doyle

Since 2005 scribe of the local blog, Chicago Carless. I invite you to visit.

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This is my final post on Chicagosphere. With the end of February comes the end of my association with ChicagoNow. Blogging here was a wonderful opportunity and at times great fun, and I thank everyone who read my words in these virtual pages.

I remain the longtime scribe of Chicago Carless, my personal blog about life as a non-native Chicagoan. There I'll continue writing about blog and social-media news, as well as other regular topics including the CTA and going carfree, Chicago politics and happenings, living with ADHD, my migration away from Mac OS, and my otherwise crazy life here on the shores of Lake Michigan.

Beginning Monday, March 1st, readers will also be able to find most of my copyrighted content from Chicagosphere cross-posted in the new Blog World channel of Chicago Carless. I invite readers to stop by Carless for a visit, and to continue browsing other interesting blogs from fine ChicagoNow bloggers.

Thanks again. That's all folks!

--Mike Doyle

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Is RedEye the "New" CTA Tattler?

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Mike Doyle

Since 2005 scribe of the local blog, Chicago Carless. I invite you to visit.

scale6When ChicagoNow debuted in May 2009, Chicagoist called CTA Tattler one of the site's most notable blogs. Predating ChicagoNow by several years, CTA Tattler came with a built-in reputation as the Windy City's go-to online source for transit news. So why for the past several months has RedEye's Going Public column been beating the Tattler at its own game?

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Are Tribune Co. & NBC5 Chicago Censoring Local News?

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Mike Doyle

Since 2005 scribe of the local blog, Chicago Carless. I invite you to visit.

beachwoodnodateToday, Beachwood Reporter editor & publisher Steve Rhodes announced he was walking away from his paid gig as an NBC5 Chicago news blogger. According to Rhodes, earlier this month NBC5 removed specific posts of his from its local news blog without his knowledge or consent, allegedly due to personal request from upper NBC5 management--and Tribune Company execs.

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Christmas Without a Big Christmas Tree?

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Mike Doyle

Since 2005 scribe of the local blog, Chicago Carless. I invite you to visit.

Chirstmas-tree1-225x300ChicagoNow Dirt on Green blogger Mark Boyer asked today whether environmental consequences matter when choosing a Christmas tree. We may kill the environment by choosing PVC-laden artificial trees instead of real ones. But my primary Christmas concern has always been whether my annual tree is so tall that it might kill me.

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Ugly Holiday Sweaters Make for a Warm Community Meetup

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Mike Doyle

Since 2005 scribe of the local blog, Chicago Carless. I invite you to visit.

uglytop2Last night's Ugly Christmas Sweater Holiday Party was a huge success! Organized by Windy Citizen editor & publisher Brad Flora and sponsored by more than two dozen Chicago bloggers (including Chicagosphere and Chicago Carless), almost 100 of you--our readers, friends, loved ones, and fellow bloggers--came out to Black Rock Bar in Roscoe Village on a frigid night.

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New Survey Says Social Media Good for Holiday Business

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Mike Doyle

Since 2005 scribe of the local blog, Chicago Carless. I invite you to visit.

comScore_IncA new survey from comScore this week (reported in TechCrunch) suggests that social media has a positive effect of holiday purchases. Last week, the survey firm asked 425 shoppers nationwide about their buying habits this holiday season. As many as 28% said that social media had affected their purchasing decisions this year, including online product reviews and Facebook and Twitter posts from friends and trusted influencers.

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Chicago Ugly Christmas Sweater Party Tonight!

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Mike Doyle

Since 2005 scribe of the local blog, Chicago Carless. I invite you to visit.

uglytop2Chicagosphere and Chicago Carless are both happy to be co-sponsors of tonight's Chicago Ugly Christmas Sweater Party, benefiting the Greater Chicago Food Depository! (See my original post here.) The event is organized by Brad Flora, editor & publisher of the Windy Citizen.

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You're Invited to the Chicago Ugly Christmas Sweater Party!

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Mike Doyle

Since 2005 scribe of the local blog, Chicago Carless. I invite you to visit.

uglytopThis week, Windy Citizen editor & publisher Brad Flora (@bradflora) had a great idea--ask a group of local bloggers to throw their names behind a community Christmas party for our readers. It's an all-inclusive community holiday meetup--and if you're reading this post, you're invited!

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My Absent Appearance on WGN's ChicagoNow Radio with Bill Leff This Morning

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Mike Doyle

Since 2005 scribe of the local blog, Chicago Carless. I invite you to visit.

This morning, I was scheduled to appear on WGN-AM's ChicagoNow Radio with host Bill Leff. After an unexpected verbal drubbing by Leff a minute before air time, I walked out of the studio and finished my Thanksgiving shopping, instead. Here is what Leff said to me:

"Here's a lesson to you from the media. Focus right now if you want us to promote you. Because you are replaceable."

I promised my ChicagoNow community manager I wouldn't tell you what I think of Leff and his comments on Chicagosphere. But you can find the full story on my Chicago Carless blog, right here.

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The Oak Park Penis: Does the Village's New Logo Look Like a Phallus?

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Mike Doyle

Since 2005 scribe of the local blog, Chicago Carless. I invite you to visit.

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What would you do if your municipal branding consultant suggested at a public board meeting that your town's new logo look like a penis? That happened this week in upscale Oak Park, Illinois. As local bloggers and Twitter users in the west-suburban village continue to voice shock over the new logo, I put it to you, Chicago. Does Oak Park's new logo look like what I think it does?


This afternoon, my Twitter pal, Oak Leaves town hall reporter John P. Huston (@oakpark), posted to his News Peg blog an entry about Oak Park's proposed new logo. The official logo, pictured below, was proposed on Monday to the Village Board by Ed Barlow, director of client services of "community branding experts" firm North Star Destination Strategies, for use by the Oak Park Convention and Visitors Bureau.

Proposed Oak Park Logo

The logo and, um, strap line (I swear, the correct term) are meant to convey Oak Parkers as risk takers. I'd love to know how many of you out there think "risk taker" when you think about residents of Chicago's closest west-suburban neighbor. Progressive? Absolutely. But status quo? Overwhelmingly. (I suppose that's what you get when you a give your local branding campaign to a company in another state--North Star's HQ is in Nashville, TN.)


However, I'd much rather ask in the spirit of the impending holiday season, ahem, do you see what I see?  Especially when you compare Oak Park's potential new logo to these--for want of a better term--other phallic logo fails:


Gallery sneak peek (12 images):

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Yesterday Robert Feder Opened His Mouth to Change His Feet

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Mike Doyle

Since 2005 scribe of the local blog, Chicago Carless. I invite you to visit.

This week, former Chicago Sun-Times TV columnist Robert Feder (@robertfeder) managed to stick his foot in his mouth while sticking his tongue in his cheek. The usually scrappy Feder slapped down ChicagoNow's new WGN-AM Radio weekly show from the pulpit of his own new blog at the web-centric Vocalo Radio. Boy, could I say something about that. But fellow blogger Alexander Russo, the nationally prominent scribe of the popular District 299 Chicago Public Schools watchdog blog, got there first.


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Vivian Vahlberg Vs. The Usual Suspects: Why the "Community News Matters" Grantee List Is No Surprise

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Mike Doyle

Since 2005 scribe of the local blog, Chicago Carless. I invite you to visit.

Yesterday, I asked why the Chicago Community Trust's recently announced "Community News Matters" grant awards seem to ignore the future sustainability of online local news. It turns out there may be a reason for that. In August, a key Trust staffer claimed in signed comments here on Chicagosphere that the foundation never considered the grant monies to be more than bridge funding--and that it had no idea who would receive that funding. So why did the foundation's own request for proposals (RFP) announce the future sustainability of Chicago's local news sector as a main goal of the grant program? And why are most of the winning grant recipients organizations and bloggers to whom the Trust reached out prior to releasing its RFP in the first place?

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Sustainability Optional in Chicago Community Trust Online News Grants?

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Mike Doyle

Since 2005 scribe of the local blog, Chicago Carless. I invite you to visit.

[UPDATE: This post has a follow-up, Vivian Vahlberg Vs. The Usual Suspects: Why the "Community News Matters" Grantee List Is No Surprise.]

Today, the Chicago Community Trust announced the recipients of its Community News Matters grant awards, aimed at spurring innovation in Chicago's online local news sector. The recipients list reads like a who's who of the Chicago community news scene. But it takes a lot of reading between the lines to find any evidence of long-term sustainability for the winning projects.
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Who Should Defend the Copyright of Content Network Bloggers?

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Mike Doyle

Since 2005 scribe of the local blog, Chicago Carless. I invite you to visit.

I've decided to call it quits as a Huffington Post Chicago blogger. A charter blogger at that--I was among those personally invited to scribe for the site shortly before its August 2008 Windy City debut. But after fourteen months, nonstop theft of my content by spam sites has left me weary and wanting out. It's not just a HuffPost issue, either. As print media interests across the country continue to launch blog content networks, why don't their resident bloggers receive the same vigorous infringement defense as newspaper and magazine writers?

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FTC's Material Disclosure Equals Best Practice for Bloggers

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Mike Doyle

Since 2005 scribe of the local blog, Chicago Carless. I invite you to visit.

Last November, the Federal Trade Commission caused a group heart attack among bloggers and online advertisers when the agency announced its intention to regulate online endorsements. As the new rules debut this month, however, the only bloggers with cause to fear are the ones who consider their viewers purely as a means to a financial end, rather than as a community of real people worthy of respect.
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Chicago Online News: The Best of What's Left

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Mike Doyle

Since 2005 scribe of the local blog, Chicago Carless. I invite you to visit.

chitowndailynewsLast week's sudden shut-down of Chitown Daily News means one fewer online source for independent community news about the Windy City. If you're hoping to find a local online news site, here's a look at the best of what's left.

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BREAKING: Chitown Daily News Shutting Down

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Mike Doyle

Since 2005 scribe of the local blog, Chicago Carless. I invite you to visit.

chitowndailynews[UPDATED: 3:44PM] As initially reported on Gapers Block, the Windy City's leading independent local news website, Chitown Daily News, has laid off its reporting staff and is shutting down, to re-tool as a for-profit venture. The surprise news comes in the wake of the C-BOM bloggers meetup called last month to discuss ways to make financial ends meet on the local blogosphere.

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Chicago Bloggers Discuss Online Sustainability at C-BOM

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Mike Doyle

Since 2005 scribe of the local blog, Chicago Carless. I invite you to visit.

cbom0830--credit--stevedahlmanOn the morning of Saturday, August 29th, more than two dozen Chicago bloggers sat down to talk about the future of the local blogosphere at the C-BOM: Chicago Blogging & Online Media meetup. The invitation-only event was an opportunity for Windy City scribes to continue a discussion about community sustainability begun earlier this summer by third parties in the nonprofit and journalism communities. On Saturday, however, the bloggers finally had their say.

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Why the EveryBlock Sale Matters: Chicago Foundations Pass the Buck on Sustainability

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Mike Doyle

Since 2005 scribe of the local blog, Chicago Carless. I invite you to visit.

everyblock&msnbcAs widely reported this week, Chicago-based hyperlocal newsfeed aggregator EveryBlock.com was bought out by MSNBC for an undisclosed sum likely in the millions. At a time when Windy City foundations are posturing to be the nonprofit saviors of online local news, the surprise sale may point to a different future for popular sites. Is there money to be made in the online local news sphere after all?

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Is Teresa Puente's Opinion of Rick Bayless "Racist"?

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Mike Doyle

Since 2005 scribe of the local blog, Chicago Carless. I invite you to visit.

chicanisimaIs ChicagoNow blogger Teresa Puente a racist for saying that Rick Bayless is stealing the spotlight from native Mexican chefs in the United States? Some say yes--including the Chicago Tribune's Phil Vettel.

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Virtual Concentration Camp for Illinois Sex Offenders?

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Mike Doyle

Since 2005 scribe of the local blog, Chicago Carless. I invite you to visit.

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Today, Illinois Governor Pat Quinn signed a law making it illegal for sex offenders to use social networking sites. Is this a necessary ban to protect the state's children? Or a misguided move guaranteed to keep criminals who've paid their debt living on the margins of society?

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Independence Eve Fireworks FOIA Update

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Mike Doyle

Since 2005 scribe of the local blog, Chicago Carless. I invite you to visit.

fireworksbeforedark On July 6th, I reported on potential violence along the lakefront during Chicago's Independence Eve fireworks. The next day, in consultation with my Chicago Now editor, I filed Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests on several city agencies. Now thirty days later, here's what I've heard back.

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Twitter 101 for Business: Horizon Realty Edition

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Mike Doyle

Since 2005 scribe of the local blog, Chicago Carless. I invite you to visit.

twitterhorizonAs reported by ChicagoNow's Marian Wang, on Monday Horizon Realty Group sued unhappy tenant and Twitter user Amanda Bonnen for "maliciously and wrongfully publish[ing a] false and defamatory Tweet on Twitter, thereby allowing the Tweet to be distributed throughout the world." Bonnen aimed her tweet at 20 followers, but Horizon's lawsuit--and the questions Bonnen raised about the company's management practices--made global news. Horizon might have avoided giving itself the same global PR black eye it feared from Bonnen's tweet if only someone had read Twitter 101 for Business: A Special Guide...released by the microblogging platform just days before the tweet hit the fan.

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Silence Isn't Golden for the W***** Tower

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Mike Doyle

Since 2005 scribe of the local blog, Chicago Carless. I invite you to visit.

img_0020(Photo credit: Jeff Reimer | Mode of Expression.)

There are bad branding strategies. There are Macy's-mothballs-Marshall-Field awful branding strategies. And then there's Willis Group's hubris- and hare-brained idea to rename the Sears Tower. What do you get when you glue a new name on an old icon whose existing monicker has worldwide recognition? Judging by local blog discussion, a good laugh--and lots of people who say they just won't bother to say the word W*****.

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The Printed Blog: Dumb Idea Finally Drops Dead

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Mike Doyle

Since 2005 scribe of the local blog, Chicago Carless. I invite you to visit.

printedblogdeadAs reported yesterday with far too much column space on Crain's Small Business Blog, the paper formerly known as The Printed Blog has ceased publication after a short, six-month lifespan. If you're scratching your head right now wondering what paper I'm talking about, that's entirely my point.

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Chicagosphere's Mike Doyle Calls for Community Blogger Strategy Day on Outside the Loop Radio

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Mike Doyle

Since 2005 scribe of the local blog, Chicago Carless. I invite you to visit.

OTLradioToday, WLUW 88.7-FM's indie audio magazine, Outside the Loop RADIO, interviews Yours Truly sending out a call to action to local bloggers. As I wrote in these virtual pages, last week I participated in a major local media conference and attended another. Both were aimed at finding ways to make online news sustainable in the Windy City.

Trouble is, future sustainability didn't turn out to be much of a topic at either. Worse, even with the release of a major report (also covered on Chicagosphere) touting the growing importance of community-oriented websites for disseminating local news, the blogosphere was given short shrift at both events, as well.

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Bloggers Respond to Chicago Media Future Conference

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Mike Doyle

Since 2005 scribe of the local blog, Chicago Carless. I invite you to visit.

cmfc[Ed. note--6/18/09: This post will be occasionally updated to link back to additional perspectives from the coference.]

On Saturday, the Windy City's media community convened for the second time in less than a week to discuss its collective chance for survival, this time at the Chicago Media Future Conference. Whether the effort achieved its aim has been the subject of much blogosphere debate since the last attendee staggered away from the post-conference happy hour at Wabash Tap.

Organized by Mike Fourcher, founder of Purely Political Consulting, Barbara Iverson, Columbia College journalism professor and publisher of ChicagoTalks.org, and Scott Smith, Senior Editor at Playboy.com, in the immediate wake of Community Media Workshop's Making Media Connections 2009, Saturday's conference stood the chance of launching a substantive debate about future sustainability for the increasingly web-centric local- and niche-news community. Whether that actually came to pass is unclear.

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Meet the Blogosphere

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Mike Doyle

Since 2005 scribe of the local blog, Chicago Carless. I invite you to visit.

cmw_tnn_cover2We'll be back to our regularly scheduled blogosphere love-fest next week, as your pitches of nifty, interesting local website continue to roll in (keep 'em coming, folks!) But as I continue to come down from the high (and sleeplessness) of participating in Chicago's largest annual independent media conference, Making Media Connections 2009, I realize one key theme kept coming up at the conference that's worth considering.

Not the fact that community- and niche-focused websites are moving to the forefront of local news in the Windy City, though as research showed this week, that is happening. What surprised me much more was the incomplete understanding of the basic nature of the Internet expressed by more than a few conference participants.

So ladies and gentlemen of Chicago's traditional, bricks-and-mortar news media and public relations infrastructure, let me introduce you to the fundamental criteria that govern the most important element of the future of American news media. Folks, it's time to meet the blogosphere.

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Local Blogs Among Chicago's Top Niche News Sites According to New Report

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Mike Doyle

Since 2005 scribe of the local blog, Chicago Carless. I invite you to visit.

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Congratulations to local blogs Gapers Block, Chicagoist, CTA Tattler, District 299, Urbanophile, Chicago Carless, 600 Words, and Marathon Pundit, who feature among Chicago's top-20 community-based news sites according to a report released today by grassroots media-relations training organization Community Media Workshop and commissioned by the Chicago Community Trust.

The report, The New News: Journalism We Want and Need (PDF link), examines the state of online community news in Chicago, in the face of declining local coverage by the city's traditional daily newspapers.

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Chicagoist: Chicagosphere, CTA Tattler "Most Notable" New ChicagoNow Blogs

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Mike Doyle

Since 2005 scribe of the local blog, Chicago Carless. I invite you to visit.

chicagoistlogoToday, popular Windy City news & features blog Chicagoist called Chicagosphere and CTA Tattler the two most notable non-Tribune blogs to debut on the newly launched ChicagoNow. Congratulations to my colleague, Tattler scribe Kevin O'Neil, and thanks to Chicagoist poobah, Marcus Gilmer.

While we're on the subject, check this Chicagoist post for a brief-but-nifty photo essay in and around the new Wit Hotel, now open for business at the corner of State and Lake--and directly adjacent to which our favorite lesbian burlesque performer, Ms. Bea Haven, danced an impromtu strip tease (YouTube link) last week.

And the -ist crowd throught we'd never write about them...

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