This week, the Chicago Tribune announced they will be launching a new website this June. Chicago Now, as it will be called, is a foray into a world unknown to the newspaper industry. Sure, they all have websites, but this is a departure and a risk, that if it pays off, could prove to be a new direction for newspaper companies trying to survive. Combining news, blogging, social media, and e-commerce to create a local hub of information for Chicagoans, the Trib hopes to increase their share of the local web market to 35%. It should be an interesting ride.
There are several national sites that have gone local as of late, like ESPN Chicago, and The Huffington Post Chicago. This trend toward making the national and the global local is something that I think we will see more of in the near future. Now that we understand the vastness of the world and our inability to interact with all of it–thank you internet!–we, as a culture, are beginning to turn inward again. This of course, is being propelled by our failing economy, but it had begun long before the market crashed. We are looking for the comforts of a small town that rests on the outskirts of a large metroplex. And we are finding ways to make a life in that world.
I am very excited to see what rolls down the line in the next year. I think we will only see more and more of this sort of localization, and I love it!