If you're just tuning into us because of the recent press coverage of the Daily News, welcome.
It's strange to become the subject of a news story after years of slinging the tough questions, but the Trib's Steve Johnson was very gentle, and gave me a cigarette afterwards.
Steve's article has already reached a lot of people who are interested in writing for us. Sometimes I get so wrapped up in the trivia that defines a web developer's day -- moving stories, tracking down error messages -- that I forget we are doing something really exciting here.
Fortunately, a reader e-mailed a reminder:
"I believe your Daily News web site has an extraordinary opportunity to fill a vacuum which has been created in the Chicago news market. For The Tribune and Sun-Times have the resources, but not the corporate will, to create the news sites which the public demands.
Fearful of competing with itself, it does not release most of its news until about 6 a.m. on the internet. As the internet is a medium which allows readers to have updated news on a 24-hour basis, neither newspaper has established themselves as the preeminent site to turn to when you want immediate news about Chicago.
Other newspaper sites worldwide are just beginning to use their sites to publish news, with filing times attached to each story, on a 24-hour basis. As soon as a reporter files a story it is up on the internet.
Taking advantage of this weakness in the Chicago metros web sites means someone is going to move in to provide information as it occurs. News, sports, weather, road conditions, etc. needs to be ongoing. Whether you create this news site, or someone else, it will happen.
I might add that the demise of the City News Bureau provides additional opportunity. As the Tribune and, less so the Sun-Times, has attempted to become everything to everybody they have, in fact, greatly diluted their news product. Frankly, I do not believe it possible to cover a six county metropolis with eight million people as they are trying to do.
The vacuum they have again created in news is that no one is covering the city of Chicago. The police precincts are not covered, the ward politics are not covered, fire calls are not covered, the courts are not covered, city government is not covered.
The business model of the Tribune is to have, I believe, six hundred writers available to (not) cover all of this news. That is how you operate when you are too prosperous and take for granted your position of preeminence.
However, many, many daily newspapers in this country operate with only a few writers who manage to turn out very reputable products. (Russell Baker writes in his autobiography how only six editorial staff members would often put out the entire Baltimore Sun!)
Drawing people to your site is dependent upon combining continually updated news and information, occasional investigative pieces which will provide a greatly enhanced profile and free site-advertising, and inexpensive promotion.
Revenues will follow."
Ah, yes. Revenue. Holy s**t, I hope he's right.