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DNAinfo (short for Digital Network Associates) is an online local news organization covering Manhattan and Chicago.

The site was founded in November 2009 by Ameritrade founder Joe Ricketts, who also provides its funding. The original New York site had an editorial staff of about 45 in March 2013 and it includes both neighborhood-level sites and broader coverage. It has hired a number of high-profile reporters, including contributing editor Sree Sreenivasan, dean of student affairs at Columbia Journalism School, and Murray Weiss, a long-time investigative reporter for the New York Post.

The site has grown considerably since launch: While estimates pegged site traffic at less than 35,000 visitors in April 2010, it averaged 1.5 million uniques in February 2011. It also has developed a sales and marketing staff of about 10 people to monetize that growth, as Ricketts intends the site to be profitable. It launched a Chicago edition in November 2012, with a staff of about 30 in March 2013.

Both sites include features, breaking news, public affairs reporting, and community news, though there is little in-depth investigative reporting or reporting on large businesses.

Ricketts, a political conservative, launched a political action committee in 2012 through which he reportedly planned to target President Barack Obama’s re-election campaign. But he said in a memo to DNAinfo staff that his politics should have “absolutely no impact on your work as objective, fair-minded journalists.”

Recent Nieman Lab coverage:
Oct. 20, 2015 / Joseph Lichterman
How a local startup in Charlotte, North Carolina thinks it can make online advertising work — With the online ad market dominated by large players such as Facebook and Google and under threat from ad blockers, many in the news business are looking beyond advertising as a means to make money. The local news startu...
Oct. 14, 2015 / Joseph Lichterman
With a neighborhood-level focus, Hoodline is trying to fill a gap in San Francisco news — For months, the fate of the beloved bakery chain La Boulange has captivated San Franciscans. Starbucks bought the chain in 2012 and, in June, announced that it was closing all of La Boulange’s stores, most of which...
Sept. 29, 2015 / Dan Kennedy
The Worcester Sun wants to bootstrap paywalled hyperlocal digital into a Sunday print product — Mark Henderson is certainly not the first person to launch a hyperlocal website in the shadow of the daily newspaper that used to employ him. Nevertheless, his ideas about how to build the site into a sustainable busines...
Sept. 9, 2015 / Laura Hazard Owen
The hyperlocal news landscape may be bad in the U.S., but the U.K. faces even bigger challenges — It’s tough times for local news in the U.S. But things are worse in the U.K., according to a report released Wednesday. U.K. hyperlocal sites have received much less funding than U.S. hyperlocal sites, while facing...
Sept. 1, 2015 / Joshua Benton
As giant platforms rise, local news is getting crushed — This has not been a good year for local news. That’s a sentence I could have written any year for the past decade, for a host of reasons now numbingly familiar. But 2015 has felt like a turning point for the most t...

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Primary author: Mark Coddington. Main text last updated: April 4, 2013.
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