A few days ago I wrote about Mike Fourcher, a new-media trailblazer in Chicago who’s still looking for a formula for success. Fourcher established a couple of hyperlocal news sites, centersquarejournal.com and roscoeviewjournal.com, that he’d decided to stop maintaining because he couldn’t figure out how to support himself by running them.
Hard as it was to build an audience, selling ads was even harder. What he’d discovered, I wrote, was that “the competition for the ad dollars of local merchants is overwhelming; but confounding all the ad sellers is the spreading perception among merchants that they don’t need to be spending ad dollars at all. As long as they have on staff or on call someone adept in social media, they can promote themselves for a relative song.”
But if the public valued his sites, the public deserved a chance to save them. He called a community meeting for Thursday evening in the DANK Haus in Lincoln Square. “I believe that if the community wants to keep the sites going, they will have many more ideas than I will,” Fourcher told me. “I think a good number of people will be there. But I’m not holding my breath.”