the kicker

Should Center Square Journal shut down?

A hyperlocal site editor is holding a community meeting to decide its fate
January 15, 2013

The editor of a hyperlocal news site in Chicago is organizing a community meeting to decide whether or not to continue running it. Mike Fourcher, who obtained a degree of notoriety last year for quitting Journatic at the height of the fake byline scandal, posted a notice on his site, Center Square Journal, on Thursday, inviting readers to a meeting at the end of month to discuss its future.

“I’m prepared to turn over all of CSJ to a non-profit, to continue operating it part-time, or whatever the community wants,” Fourcher writes. “Mostly I want to see it continue in some capacity. But if the community isn’t interested — or if nobody shows up to the meeting — no problem. I’ll just fold it up and move on to my next gig.”

Fourcher said in an email that he does not receive grants to keep the site going like other local news sites that have adopted community funding as a revenue stream (Voice Of San Diego is one example). That means it will be up to the residents living in the Chicago neighborhoods covered by CSJ and its sister site to decide what happens next.

“I’m tossing it up to see if the community, which is affluent, thinks the pub is important enough to fund,” he wrote. “As far as I know, this sort of thing has never been done before, anywhere in the country.”

Hazel Sheffield is a former assistant editor at CJR. Follow her on Twitter @hazelsheffield.