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Huffington Post Goes Local in Chicago

The Huffington Post started as an aggregate political blog, but founder Arianna Huffington is now eyeing something bigger: local news coverage.

Chicago will serve as Huffington’s local guinea pig. From The Guardian:

[Arianna] Huffington said the Chicago site would aggregate news, sports, crime, arts and business news from different local sources as well as contributions from bloggers in what will be the first of a series of projects in “dozens of US cities”. The Chicago site will initially be curated by just one editor.

Similar hyper-local efforts have struggled to achieve sustainability. The Guardian says the Huffington Post received $10 million in funding in 2006 and 2007, and the company is pursuing additional investments to fund the local expansion.

(Via mediabistro)

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Comments: 2

  1. You’re right about other efforts like YourStreet and Outside.In struggling (and failing, i.e., BackFence), but they are/were focused on hyper-local, neighborhood-level coverage. That’s tough. Just because there is a geographic community doesn’t mean there is a “community,” and they’re finding that out.

    Huffington, on the other hand, is not going hyper-local. She’s going to Chicago, not the suburbs of Orland Park or Naperville. She’s going after the Tribune’s audience, not the TribLocal’s audience or that of the smaller regional dailies.

    And that difference could make all the difference.

    She will aggregate, report (1-2 reporters), comment (probably with big names, a la Huffington Post), and she will draw a crowd (of readers and advertisers).

    I go into this Huffington threat at greater length on my blog. — John

  2. @John Wilpers — Good points re: Huffington’s strengths. I would love to see a different model emerge that challenges established papers *and* opens up Web-based revenue streams. My biggest issue with previous local efforts (hyperlocal and otherwise) is that so many assumed local advertising would eventually cover costs. But they never actually outlined the value proposition for local advertisers beyond “local people will see your message.”

    Whether it’s Huffington or someone else, a business will eventually figure out the model by offering discernible upsides to readers *and* advertisers.