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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.”
The Franklin Center for Government & Public Integrity is a nonprofit organization that focuses on investigative reporting at state and local levels. The center, based in Bismarck, N.D., was founded in 2009 by the Sam Adams Alliance, a conservative thinktank, and several of its employees have come from positions in conservative publications and political offices,…