Non-profit news experiment in Chicago


Operating under the umbrella of tax-exempt WTTW-TV (PBS) Chicago, the Chicago News Cooperative (CNC) has announced its first client. Beginning November 20th, it will supply content for the Chicago edition of the New York Times.

Jim O’Shea, formerly Managing Editor of the Chicago Tribune, is heading up the non-profit CNC. The idea is to be hyper-local and sell content to various outlets. At the launch next month, it will be supplying content for two pages of Chicago-centric news on Fridays and Saturdays in the NY Times Chicago edition. And, of course, those local pages will carry local ads.

In addition to generating content for others, CNC will have its own local website, Chicago Scoop. It will ask consumers to pay a buck or two a week for access to the local news stories, along with social networking.

The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation has contributed funding for CNC. The Foundation, of course, was endowed with riches made from the Chicago Tribune.

RBR-TVBR observation: This certainly makes more sense than a government subsidy. Is this the future of news? Well, it certainly is a new approach in a city where both major dailies are currently in Chapter 11.