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Key links:
Primary website:
chicagocurrent.com
Primary Twitter:
@chicagocurrent

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.

The Daily News was a general-interest news site, though it was heavy on local public-interest stories. The Current exclusively covers local politics.

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.

Recent Nieman Lab coverage:
Dec. 14, 2009 / Jim Barnett
Are news nonprofits doomed to reliance on big gifts? A study in fundraising — and sustainability — I’ve been studying journalism nonprofits one way or another for about five years now, and I confess that in all that time, I’ve looked at their business models really as being slightly different iterations of the sam...
Oct. 13, 2009 / Jim Barnett
Teaching nonprofits how to fish — Like a lot of people who are concerned about the future of journalism in the digital age, I’m still wondering what we’re supposed to have learned from the demise of Chi-Town Daily News last month. So I called...
Sept. 23, 2009 / Jim Barnett
Seeking fundraising help from the pros: Where ProPublica is turning — A frequently misunderstood aspect of nonprofits is the idea that fundraising is somehow a tin-cup substitute for a smart business plan. That misunderstanding gained traction in some circles a couple of weeks ago when Geo...
Sept. 14, 2009 / Jim Barnett
Buying time in Chi-Town — Like many, I was disappointed to read Friday that the editorial team behind Chi-Town Daily News was giving up on its nonprofit business model in order to launch a new, as-yet-unnamed, for-profit news site about city news...
Sept. 8, 2009 / C.W. Anderson
The future of news in 4 dimensions: How real news orgs fit in the model — In my last post, I spent a lot of time laying out a fairly abstract framework for how we can think intelligently about future kinds of news organizations. I argued they could be usefully evaluated and charted on four fac...

Recently around the web, from Mediagazer:

Primary author: Mark Coddington. Main text last updated: May 10, 2011.
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