Hyperlocal blog network ChicagoNow is finding success, offering other such models hope that they can be part of the future of journalism.
The website offers readers 350 blogs written by community journalists based in Chicago, with each covering niche topics from across the city. The bloggers are paid $5 for every 1000 local page views, and though the site employs editors, the content is entirely produced by the network of blogs.
Editors of the site help blogs take advantage of hyperlinking and SEO tools, and ChicagoNow has started to offer its bloggers educational seminars to help them create better content. The bloggers cover topics from crime to public schools to local politics, and they all offer a bio and a picture, giving the blogs a personal quality that many larger newspapers lack.
Rather than purchase an already established hyperlocal news site, the Chicago Tribune Co. created ChicagoNow from the ground-up, and it recently received 1.5 million unique visitors and 15.5 million page views in March alone. Although other hyperlocal news ventures are entering the city--the Chicago Cooperative provides content to the New York Times, and Patch.com will be coming soon--ChicagoNow seems to be here to stay.