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Learn more about 146 sites publishing news for Chicagoland, both online-only efforts and the online sites from print or broadcast news organizations.

All participants of the survey are marked at the bottom of each of their individual postings in this list.

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Circulation may be down at Chicago’s dailies, but web traffic is up at Chicago’s online news sites
, as evidenced by the 20 million visits to Chicago-area online news sites in May. And what does this ever-changing media landscape mean for journalists? It means the definition of who’s a journalist now has changed, as Ray Hanania points out at Making Media Connections 2010.

While the mainstream media still dominates online—in May, six of the eight million unique cumulative visitors reported by all media outlets participating in the survey were to Chicago Tribune, Sun-Times and chicagonow (Trib blog site)–the report looked a total of 146 online sites, big and small. Many of those sites were too small to show measurable visitor traffic by commercial tracking sources.

Read the rest of this entry »


To find out what ideas influence Chicago’s new news ecosystem, Community Media Workshop interviewed a cross-section of 2010 New News survey respondents.

Brad Flora | Justin Kaufmann | Mandy Burrell Both | Suzanne McBride | Teresa Puente | Tracy Schmidt | Who’s a Journalist… Now?


Of the 146 online news sites identified in this report, 121 responded to a survey about what they do, how many people work on the effort and how they fund their operations.

READ Report Highlights

Sites most frequently describe themselves as blogs, followed next by niche news sites. Of the 121 sites in the survey, 48, or 40%, described themselves as blogs and 44 (36%) described themselves as niche news sites.

Blogging is a potentially confounding category: it describes a platform for publishing content as well as a particular style of writing and engagement and often, a topical focus. In this year’s survey, blogs include ones by nonprofit organizations that do other things, such as the Metropolitan Planning Council, community news sites such as Live Here Oak Park, the Vocalo blogging network that includes former Sun-Times writers Robert Feder and Jim DeRogatis, and online news site Gapers Block.

Not surprisingly, 19 (16%) of the sites described themselves as both niche news and blogs in the survey.

In a change from last year’s survey, Community Media Workshop recruited publishers of online sites by traditional or legacy newspapers, TV and radio organizations to participate in the survey.

Eight, or 7%, of sites are part of traditional/mainstream news organizations such as the Chicago Tribune, Chicago Sun-Times, WGN-AM and In addition, several of the blogs that participated in the survey are part of the ChicagoNow blog network run by the Chicago Tribune.

The 26 mostly or all online news sites covered a broad spectrum of online content, including aggregators such as Windy Citizen, community news sites such as Austin Talks, sites focused on arts and culture such as Art Pilsen and Music Box Online, and sites that also create news content for print or broadcast, such as and

“Your Categories Stink!”

One of the survey choices is “Your categories stink! Here’s a better description of what we do.” Almost one in four sites (28 sites) chose this option. The most common theme to emerge is that site publishers support more than one distinctive news activity on their sites, such as reporting the news and aggregating other content, or reporting and publishing news on the Web and online.

Video, podcasting and photo sharing

Many websites reported using video, audio or photo-sharing, with YouTube video being the most popular multimedia feature. Thirty percent (36 sites) report publishing YouTube videos on their site.  Twenty-one percent (25 sites) report publishing podcasts or posting photos to Flickr feeds.

Survey sites’ use of multimedia aligns roughly with the popularity of these activities among Internet users, according to data gathered by the Pew Internet and American Life project. According to Pew, 69% of American Internet users watch YouTube or other online video, and between 2007 and 2009, the percent of adult Internet users who have watched online news videos has increased from 37 percent (in 2007) to 43 percent (in 2009).

(Source: Pew Internet & American Life Project, The State of Online Video, and What Kind of Video are Online Adults Watching? accessed June 28, 2010).

Sharing and distributing content

Just more than one in four survey sites (30 sites, 25%) report some type of partnership or means other than Real Simple Syndication to share or distribute content. Some of these partnerships include online-print partnerships at a neighborhood or community level. For example, Austin Talks partners with the weekly Austin Weekly News to publish content, and TribLocal’s publishing web content in 21 regional weeklies.

Others include sharing content among websites or between Web and partner print organizations. The New York Times’ publishes Chicago News Cooperative stories on Fridays, and Lake Effect News content appears on several other sites, including and

Fifty-one percent of sites (62 sites) report using RSS (Real Simple Syndication) feeds to make it easy for people to find out about new content updates. (To learn more about RSS, view Commoncraft’s RSS in Plain English video:

Areas served

Survey sites most frequently reported serving a city-wide population. Fifty-two sites (43%) reported serving the entire city of Chicago. While a few neighborhoods seemed to be populated with local news sites (such as Uptown, whom 12 sites claimed as a neighborhood they covered, and Rogers Park, claimed by 11 sites), each neighborhood in Chicago is covered by between three and eight sites, according to the survey data. Yet when three sites that reported serving each of Chicago’s neighborhoods are excluded, 16 of 77 Chicago neighborhoods were not represented by neighborhood coverage area in the survey . When looking at counties covered by sites in the survey, Cook County was the coverage area reported most frequently, by 22 sites. DuPage county was next, claimed by 13 sites. Eleven sites claimed to cover one or more of the other suburban Chicago counties (Lake, Kane, McHenry and Will). Forty-five sites cover Illinois, and 30 sites cover national issues or stories.

Target populations

Seventy-six percent (92 sites) reported that they serve a general audience with no particular racial or ethnic focus. Twelve sites in the survey reported serving Latinos (10%), while seven (6%) reported serving African Americans. Sites this year included a few with extensive Spanish language content, including, Hoy’s website, the arts and culture website Contratiempo ( and the English and Spanish publishing Pilsen Portal (

Four sites (3%) report serving gay, lesbian bisexual and transgendered populations. The same number (four sites, 3%) report serving people with disabilities.

Age groups

Thirty-eight sites (31%) reported serving all adults. One site reported serving children 6-12, and five sites reported serving teen-agers (12-18 age group). Five sites also report serving seniors.


Most online news sites (71 or 59%) concentrate on general news or cover a little bit of everything. Of specific topics, community development—including real estate, urban planning and policy, neighborhood safety/crime, community news— was reported most frequently (44 sites), followed by arts and culture (40), education (30), community leadership development, such as stories about local neighborhood groups that feature voices of volunteers, grassroots leaders (28), and peace and social justice (20).

Staffing and benefits

Most frequently, survey sites report having one person (or no one) who works full-time on the publication: 41 sites (34%) report no full-time people, and another 37 (31%) report one full-time person.

Part-time contributions seem to play a large role in online news: one in five sites, or 24 (20%) say one person works part-time on the site; 28 respondents (23%) report two or three people work part-time on the online site, and another 26% (31 sites) report they rely upon more than three people working part time on the site.

Online news sites frequently are unpaid efforts for writers and editors: 49 sites (40%) report that no writers or editors gets paid for their online efforts, and 18 (15%) sites report that one person is paid.

Even more so, online news does not usually provide health insurance: 76 sites (63%) report that no one receives health insurance from their online news outlet. Seven percent (8 sites) report that one person receives health benefits through the online site, and another seven percent (8 sites) report that two or three people receive health insurance benefits through online news. Three respondents apiece report that the online news endeavor pays for health insurance for four to six people or seven to 10 people (2%), and eight respondents (7%) report paying for health insurance for more than 10 people.


Advertising is the most common funding source for online news, reported by 45 sites (37 percent). Running closely behind, with 38 responses (31%), was “Funding? Do coins from my piggy bank count?” Thirty-one sites reported they were part of a for-profit company, and 21 reported they were part of a nonprofit. Other funding sources including sales of goods or services (19), donations (19), subscriptions (8) and venture capital (3). No LC3s participated in the survey.

When comparing to last year, funding sources remained similar except for advertising, which was not included in last year’s total.

Content provided

News and original reporting top the list of content sites report: 100 sites (83%) report providing “news” and 91 (75%) say they provide “original reporting.” Opinion is the third most popular choice: 87 sites (72%) report providing opinion.

Fifty-seven sites (47%) report an events calendar, and 44 sites (36%) report providing user-generated content in some form.

Seven sites (6%) report that they aggregate content and do not produce original content.

Content sites provide in 2010, according to the survey, is roughly similar to what they provided in 2009.

For information about survey methods and limitations, please see the Methods page

Read “Online Visitors”

If you would like to conduct your own analysis of the quantitative data from the survey, please contact Community Media Workshop at 312-369-6400.

600 Words by Esther J. Cepeda
What it’s about:Current events with a Hispanic bent

Contact: Esther J. Cepeda, Columnist
Twitter: ejc600words

2010 New News Survey Participant


The New News would not have been possible without the support of those who lent their time, energy, and expertise to its creation. In particular, we would like to thank the many new journalists whose insights and candid responses to the survey we administered are at the heart of this report.

Research: Emily Culbertson
Publisher’s Preface: Thom Clark
Editors: Thom Clark, Nora Ferrell, Demetrio Maguigad

Design and production: Demetrio Maguigad and Marissa Wasseluk
Video production: Jennifer Lacey
Data and content reviewers: Vivian Vahlberg, Gordon Mayer
Graphics: Emily Lonigro/Lime Red Studio

The Community Media Workshop also thanks its lead funder for The NEW News, The Chicago Community Trust and its Community News Matters program, spurred by a lead grant from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation’s Knight Community Information Challenge, which seeks to increase the flow of truthful, accurate and insightful news and information in the region and spur development of new business models for news.

The Knight Community Information Challenge is a five-year, $24 million effort to help community and place-based foundations find creative ways to use new media and technology to keep residents informed and engaged. The Trust received one of the Challenge’s first matching grants.

Creative Commons License

The New News by Community Media Workshop is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

Adentro de Pilsen
What it’s about: Primarily to serve the Pilsen community with vetted news and info. The project also strives to create a passion for high school and college journalists to examine niche news coverage.
Started: December 2009
Contact: Ralph Braseth

Twitter: adentrodepilsen

2010 New News Survey Participant

And That’s My Opinion

What it’s about: Various essays on a variety of subjects
Contact: Sandy Goldman

2010 New News Survey Participant

AREA Chicago
What it’s about: Social and cultural movements in Chicago; “AREA Chicago supports the work of people and organizations building a socially just city. AREA actively gathers, shares, and produces knowledge about local culture and politics. It’s newspaper, website and events create relationships and sustain community through art, research, education, and activism.
Started: 2005
Contact: Daniel Tucker, Editor

PO Box 476971
Chicago, IL 606047


2010 New News Survey Participant

Art or Idiocy?
What it’s about: Art and culture in Chicago and elsewhere
Started: September 2004
Contact: Erik Wenzel, Director

Twitter: artoridiocy

2010 New News Survey Participant

Art Pilsen
What it’s about: Art Pilsen is a comprehensive guide to events happening in Chicago’s Pilsen neighborhood.
Started: 2004
Contact: Miguel Cortez, Blogger

Art Pilsen
1458 W. 18th St., #1R
Chicago, IL 60608

Twitter: lapsus5

2010 New News Survey Participant

Arte y Vida Chicago
What it’s about: A calendar of Hispanic art and culture in Chicago
Started: 2007
Contact: Amor Montes de Oca, Publisher

Twitter: arteyvida

2010 New News Survey Participant

What it’s about: It’s a local news and information web site that covers the West Side Chicago neighborhood of Austin
Started: April 2010
Contact: Suzanne McBride, Coordinator

33 E. Congress Parkway, Suite 201-A
Chicago, IL 60605

Twitter: AustinTalks

2010 New News Survey Participant

Barbershop: Dennis Byrne, Proprietor
What it’s about: Politics and public policy
Contact: Dennis Byrne, Writer/Columnist

5 The Court of Bayview
Northbrook, IL 60062

Twitter: dennispbyrne

2010 New News Survey Participant

Beachwood Reporter
What it’s about: A Chicago-centric news and culture review that also includes award-winning investigative reporting
Started: 2/1/06
Contact: Steve Rhodes, Editor & Publisher

The Beachwood Media Company
1427 N. Wicker Park Ave.
Chicago, IL 60622

Twitter: BeachwoodReport

2010 New News Survey Participant

Brad Flora, Windy Citizen

Social Media and the News Founder, Brad Flora, discusses how social media is enabling people to define how they consume news. Read the rest of this entry »
What it’s about: News for community development advocates
Started: 2008
Contact: Justin Massa, Co-founder
100 N LaSalle St., Ste. 600
Chicago, IL 60602

Twitter: broadshoulders

2010 New News Survey Participant

Broken Heart of Rogers Park
What it’s about: Very local news and political commentary regarding a north side neighborhood in Chicago.
Started: 2004
Contact: Craig Gernhardt, Publisher/President

Gernhardt Publications, Inc.
3115 North Broadway
Chicago, IL 60657

Twitter: craig_gernhardt

2010 New News Survey Participant

What it’s about: Email service providing news, events and announcements of special interest 
to Chicago-area African Americans
Started: Fall 2002
Contact: Raynard Hall

2010 New News Survey Participant

What it’s about: progressive politics and commerce
Started: May 2000
Contact: Mark Karlin, Editor and Publisher

Mark Karlin/ BuzzFlash
688 N. Milwaukee, Suite 204
Chicago, IL 60642

Twitter: buzzflash

2010 New News Survey Participant

Catalyst Chicago
What it’s about: Public education policy & school reform
Contact: Lorraine Forte, Editor-in-Chief

332 S. Michigan Ave., Suite 500
Chicago, Illinois 60604

Twitter: CatalystChicago

2010 New News Survey Participant

Center Square Journal
What it’s about: News for Chicago’s Lincoln Square, Northcenter and Ravenswood Manor neighborhoods.
Started: 01/01/2010
Contact: Mike Fourcher, Founder/Business Manager

2423 W. Eastwood Ave.
Chicago, IL 60625

Twitter: centersqjournal

2010 New News Survey Participant

Centerstage Chicago
What it’s about: Chicago entertainment, music, theater, restaurants, bars, etc.
Started: 1996
Contact: Ben Rubenstein, Managing Editor

Centerstage Chicago
350 N. Orleans, 10th Floor South
Chicago, IL 60654

Twitter: cstagechicago

2010 New News Survey Participant

Chicago Argus
What it’s about: Chicago, along with the issues 
of the world as perceived from Chicago
Started: 12/1/07
Contact: Gregory Tejeda, Publisher, Editor

2010 New News Survey Participant

Chicago Art Magazine, Chicago Art Collector,
What it’s about: The Chicago visual art scene
Started: September 2010
Contact: Kathryn Born, Editor

Twitter: chiartmachine

2010 New News Survey Participant

Chicago Bites
What it’s about: We review food events and restaurants in the Chicago area
Started: 02/01/2006
Contact: Tammy Green, Foodie

Chicago Bites
3353 West Wilson, 2F
Chicago, IL 60625

Twitter: chicagobites

2010 New News Survey Participant

Chicago Hearts Trivia
What it’s about: We post fun trivia questions and quizzes daily and review local Chicago bars that run pub trivia nights in Chicago.
Started: 2008
Contact: Sasha Davis, Blogger

Twitter: WeHeartTrivia

2010 New News Survey Participant

Chicago Is the World
What it’s about: Ethnic news media
Started: 03/01/2009
Contact: Stephen Franklin

2010 New News Survey Participant

Chicago News Cooperative
What it’s about: Public-service journalism and news of substance and enterprise about the Chicago area
Started: 11/1/2009
Contact: Ben Goldberger, Digital Editor

70 E. Lake St., Suite 810
Chicago, IL 60601

2010 New News Survey Participant

Chicago Now: Collective Unconscious of Restless Fanatics
What it’s about: General sports theme with a look into the psyche of fandom
Started: 03/01/2010
Contact: Dan Davis, Blogger

1360 N. Sandburg Terrace, 604 C
Chicago, IL 60610

Twitter: obudan

2010 New News Survey Participant

Chicago Parent
What it’s about: Parenting
Contact:Graham Johnston, Manager of Internet and Technology

141 S. Oak Park Ave.
Oak Park, IL 60302

2010 New News Survey Participant

Chicago Reader
What it’s about: News and listings
Started: Online 1994
Contact: Steve Timble, Associate Publisher

11 E. Illinois St.
Chicago, IL 60611

Twitter: Chicago_Reader

2010 New News Survey Participant

Chicago Sun-Times
What it’s about: Chicago-area news and sports
Started: 1994
Contact: Jack Barry, Assistant Managing Editor-Interactive Media

Chicago Sun-Times-Interactive Media
350 N. Orleans
Chicago, IL 60654

Twitter: suntimes

2010 New News Survey Participant

Chicago Talks
What it’s about: Chicago Talks is a community/citizen local news web portal that features news from Chicago neighborhoods and aggregates links from local community groups, ethnic news outlets, and nonprofits. Formaly called Creating Community Connections.
Contact: Suzanne McBride, Site Director

33 E. Congress Parkway, Ste. 201-A
Chicago, IL 60605

Twitter: chicagotalks

2010 New News Survey Participant

Chicago Techy
What it’s about: Technology stuff which everyone can understand
Started: January 2010
Contact: Alberto Arreola

Twitter: albert80

2010 New News Survey Participant

Chicago Tribune
What it’s about: Online edition of daily paper offering breaking news, weather, sports, web specials on current events, and Chicago area guides.
Started: 03/14/1996
Contact: Ben Estes, Editor

435 N Michigan Ave.
Chicago, IL 60611

Twitter: coloneltribune

2010 New News Survey Participant

What it’s about: Chicago! News, events, food, etc.
Started: 2004
Contact: Marcus Gilmer

Twitter: Chicagoist

2010 New News Survey Participant

What it’s about: Local community news in Chicago neighborhoods
Started: September 2009
Contact: Mike Reilley, Editor/ Instructor

DePaul University College of Communication / Mike Reilley
14 E. Jackson Blvd., Room 1106
Chicago, IL 60604

Photos: Slideshows –
Twitter: chitownstories

2010 New News Survey Participant
What it’s about: Investigative journalism of Chicago government in print, audio, and video.
When it started: 05/01/2010
Contact: Dave Glowacz, Journalist

2010 New News Survey Participant

Comings & Goings
What it’s about: Businesses opening and closing in Chicago’s Southland
Started: 05/01/2009
Contact: Bob Bong, Managing Editor

Twitter: bobbong

2010 New News Survey Participant

Crabby Golightly
What it’s about: Reaction to pop culture and news
Started: January 2008
Contact: E. Coady, Publisher/ Editor

Twitter: Crabbygolightly

2010 New News Survey Participant

CTA Tattler
What it’s about: News and notes about all things regarding the CTA, including strange things seen and heard aboard trains and buses
Started: 6/1/04
Contact: Kevin O’Neil, Owner/Operator

Twitter: kjo84

2010 New News Survey Participant

Deep Dish
What it’s about: Groovy thoughts of a gay writer on pop culture and all things fabulous.
Started: 08/19/2008
Contact: Marc Harshbarger, Creator

Deep Dish
4538 North Bernard Street
Chicago, IL 60625

Twitter: Deep_Dish

2010 New News Survey Participant

District 299
What it’s about: Chicago schools (elementary and secondary)
Started: 2006
Contact: Alexander Russo, Creator
Twitter: district299

2010 New News Survey Participant

Driftless Area
What it’s about: Finding nature in the Chicago area
Started: 02/01/2007
Contact: Bob Dolgan, Editor

2010 New News Survey Participant

Edgewater Community Buzz
What it’s about: Our goal is to be a one-stop spot for news, events and businesses in and around Chicago’s Edgewater neighborhood.
Contact: Jeremy Bressman

2010 New News Survey Participant

Evanston Now
What it’s about: Online newspaper for Evanston, Ill.
Started: 04/01/2006
Contact: Bill Smith, Publisher

Evanston Now LLC
1726 Wesley Ave.
Chicago, IL 60201


2010 New News Survey Participant

What it’s about: Neighborhood news for Chicago and 10 other cities
Started: 1/1/08
Contact: Adrian Holovaty, Founder

228 S. Wabash Ave., Suite 401
Chicago, IL 60604

Twitter: everyblock

2010 New News Survey Participant
What it’s about: Full-service news, arts, entertainment, neighborhood site
Contact: Neil Tesser, Journalist

2010 New News Survey Participant

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Community Media Workshop
at Columbia College Chicago
600 S. Michigan Ave
Chicago, IL 60605

Walk-in Address:
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Tel: 312-369-6400
Fax: 312-369-6404

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