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Sustainability Archives

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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Son of Chitown Daily News to Debut in November

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Mike Doyle

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

When the Chicago blogosphere's star local news site, Chitown Daily News, suddenly folded in early September due to dwindling finances, editor Geoff Dougherty promised to return "within eight weeks" with a new, more sustainable local news site. True to his word, this week in Crain's Chicago Business, Dougherty announced the upcoming debut of Chicago Current...a monthly print publication with a companion website. Huh?
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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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Multimedia Posted from CMW's Making Media Connections Conference

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Mike Doyle

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

CMW logoChicago's nationally noted grassroots media training shop, Community Media Workshop, has posted online expanded coverage of last month's annual Making Media Connections conference. Regular readers will recall MMC as the venue for the release of The New News, a report that named the top community-centric blogs and niche media sites in Chicago.

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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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