Online news experts descend on Chicago

Rich Gordon (right), professor, Northwestern and Zachary Johnson, CEO, IKnow Inc./Syndio Social present their report "Linking Audiences to News" at Thursday's conference.

Online news providers from Chicago and around the country converged in Chicago last week to discuss the ever-evolving trade of providing news and information via the web. The main event was Friday’s “Block by Block: Community News Summit 2010” hosted by online news experts Michele McLellan, Reynolds fellow, and Jay Rosen, pressthink.org. The Chicago Community Trust kicked off the two-day affair with a half-day conference on Thursday, “Advancing Chicago’s News Ecosystem.”

The Community Media Workshop presented two reports at Thursday’s conference–our NEW News 2010 report that we released in August, and our new report “Realizing Potential: What Chicago’s Online Innovators Need.” (Michael Miner blogged about the reports last week as well.) “Realizing Potential” is a look at what online news producers need to be sustainable in the long term. We spent most of August and September conducting focus groups and surveying Chicago’s online news providers about what type of assistance funders could offer to help them succeed. It’s obvious that cold hard cash is what most people need right now as they try to find economic models that work, but it’s also clear that foundations can only give so many general operating grants before they’re looking for other ways to help online news providers thrive.

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