Publisher: A set of stand-alone neighborhood news sites can’t make it in Chicago

Mike Fourcher, who served as Journatic editorial director for a few months last year, is quitting his three-year-old Chicago neighborhood blog, Center Square Journal, and offering it to anyone who wants to run it as a non-profit.

Mike Fourcher

Mike Fourcher

“The economics just aren’t there for a set of stand-alone neighborhood news sites in Chicago,” he writes. “They need a sponsor and a different kind of community support since I’m moving on to a new project. More on that another time.” (Three Chicago neighborhood online news sites make up Fourcher’s Brown Line Media company.)

He’s inviting readers to a Jan. 31 meeting to discuss the future of Center Square Journal.

I’m prepared to turn over all of CSJ to a non-profit, to continue operating it part-time, or whatever the community 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.

As far as I know, this sort of thing has never been done before, anywhere in the country. I’m thinking it will have some interesting results.

I asked Fourcher if he’d tell Romenesko readers about his next chapter. “I’d like to keep the focus on CSJ for the time being,” he writes. “I think the question of ‘is neighborhood-supported hyperlocal news important enough’ is a good question to answer, and I think we’d all benefit by hearing what the neighborhood has to say.”

* Center Square Journal prepares for transition (
* July 2012: Chicago Tribune and Mike Fourcher drop Journatic (