Chicago, where are you now?

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During the next few weeks, I’ll be blogging over at Chicago Media Future Conference. Here’s what I posted for them last night:

Chicago, where are you now?

Hi, I’m Tracy. I teach online journalism at DePaul and in a previous
life worked as a reporter/web producer at Time Magazine.  But what
you’re probably interested in is the project I’m currently working
on-ChicagoNow.

Before I go further, let me thank the organizers of the Chicago
Media Future Conference for the invitation to blog on your site.  The
conference is sorely needed in Chicago, as seen by the questions raised
at February’s Journalism Townhall.  I am looking forward to the panels
and to meeting others who are passionate about Chicago media.

It’s been an intense week at ChicagoNow, but we’re used to that. We
have been working around the clock the past five months to make the
site a reality.

For those who haven’t seen our video that made the viral rounds earlier this week, here’s the gist. ChicagoNow is a network of blogs owned by the Chicago Tribune Media Group.

We got the idea in December after scouting out blogs for a feature
on ChicagoTribune.com called “Chicago’s Best Blogs.” Not surprisingly,
we found plenty of Chicaogans who had plenty to say about our town.

What if, we asked, we connected these diverse voices by creating a
forum for them so that larger audiences could see what we saw? Taking
that a step further, what if we gave non-bloggers the chance to make
their voices heard and to connect with other Chicagoans who share their
interests?

In February, we stopped asking “What if? and started saying “Why not.”

We turned to Moveable Type expert Byrne Reese to develop ChicagoNow using the latest social-media tools. Jason Santa Maria designed it.

Now our dedicated crew of journalists, designers and developers is
bringing the site to life. We plan to launch the beta version of
ChicagoNow in May and roll out the full site this summer.

While the site is owned by the Chicago Tribune Media Group, we hope
that ChicagoNow will belong to its contributors and users. We want the
site to evolve as they think best. To foster that evolution, we will
impose as few rules as possible-certainly fewer and different ones than
we have on chicagotribune.com.

In the next few weeks, I’ll be writing more here about ChicagoNow.
On May 16, I will also be speaking about ChicagoNow with Bill Adee, the
digital editor at the Chicago Tribune, at SNDChicago. The event is free and open to the public-maybe we’ll see you there.

In the meantime if you have questions, please ask them here and I’ll do my best to answer them.

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