I Couldn’t Do It Therefore Nobody Can

Yet another subgenre of new media and journalism coverage that makes me fucking crazy.

Mike Fourcher, who served as Journatic editorial director for a few months last year, is quitting his three-year-old Chicago neighborhood blog, Center Square Journal, and offering it to anyone who wants to run it as a non-profit.

“The economics just aren’t there for a set of stand-alone neighborhood news sites in Chicago,” he writes. “They need a sponsor and a different kind of community support since I’m moving on to a new project. More on that another time.” (Three Chicago neighborhood online news sites make up Fourcher’s Brown Line Media company.)

First of all, way to make me want to buy your thing, telling me there’s no way it’ll ever make money. Nonprofits need to make money, too. See also every not-for-profit ever.

Second, define “make it.” Profitable? How profitable? Plenty of people look at profitable newspapers as failing if they’re less profitable than they were years ago. Profitable enough to pay salaries for five people? Ten people? One person? What are the parameters? How realistic are they?

I’m not making fun, I’m saying we keep hearing these broad pronouncements and they seem to disqualify everything based on one person’s experience. People are trying stuff. It’s a little early to give up. Three years makes a media source an infant. How much time are you given before we all go home and the sky falls and hyperlocal is over?

Plus, Journatic? FAIL.

A.

4 thoughts on “I Couldn’t Do It Therefore Nobody Can

  1. virgotex says:

    Really saying, I have no imagination or entrepreneurial drive, so help meeee!

  2. BlackSheep0ne says:

    Actually, really saying, “I figured out I’ve done such a lame job on this I can’t make it work. Somebody who’s not as lame as me might be able to buy it and fix it. I give up.”

  3. MapleStreet says:

    But the Chicago Journatic Model only works when you have bloggers out there who work for free and are thrilled when you plagarize them.
    The moment tbese sites have reporters who investigate the situation and expect to be paid for their time and the responsibility to stand behind their stories, the paper doesn’t save anything because it has to pay for their work. (Admittedly, the paper probably still comes out ahead as it doesn’t have to pay benefits.)

  4. Wow. You guys are rough. But let’s separate some things: CSJ was not Journatic, in fact is was pure neighborhood journalism that paid fair wages. I lost most of my writers because they got plucked up by the metro dailies.
    Second, I haven’t been saying that since I couldn’t do it, nobody can.I wrote a post today about how there are places where hyperlocals have thrived. Lots of people have been successful in other places. But Chicago? Let’s be clear: There are other digital community news outlets that have closed in Chicago this year and one other paper weekly. CSJ is not alone here.
    But really, the whole point I wrote my post, the one you don’t like, is so that other could read it and build on it. Planning to start a hyperlocal? I hope my pain of experience is helpful to you.

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