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The Chi-Town Daily News was a nonprofit local news site in Chicago that folded in 2009 and reorganized as the for-profit Chicago Current.
The Daily News was launched in 2005 by former Chicago Tribune reporter Geoff Dougherty and had a staff of eight at its peak. The site was funded by a combination of membership fees and grants, receiving $440,000 from the Knight Foundation.
After raising just $600,000 since 2005 on an intended budget of $1 million to $2 million, the site laid off its staff and suspended operation in September 2009, announcing a switch from a nonprofit to a for-profit model. The organization was reborn in November 2009 as the Chicago Current.
The for-profit Current is available online for free but charges for home delivery of its print edition. The Current’s revenue comes from print and online advertising, and it has three full-time staff members. Dougherty hopes to break even on it by late 2010.
In 2007, the Daily News began using a volunteer citizen-journalism model to attempt to cover public-interest stories in each of Chicago’s neighborhoods, as well as city-wide issues. The money for the effort came from the Knight Foundation.
The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation is a national foundation that funds a variety of causes, including journalism projects and organizations. The foundation was founded in 1950 by the Knight brothers, who owned the Ohio-based Knight Newspapers, which later became Knight Ridder. Since 1950, the foundation has invested nearly $400 million in journalism…