When the announcement that DNAinfo and Chicagoist were unceremoniously shut down by billionaire founder and owner Joe Ricketts went viral, a large shudder was felt throughout the entire Chicago media community. I gritted my teeth knowing a good part of my network would be affected.
As the social posts started to appear in my news feed, one common denominator connected the sentiments: grief for the future of Chicago journalism.
It took me a month to sort through my feelings, largely watching those around me grapple with how their friend lost their job, how a past employer was no more, how Chicago would change without these news sites connecting an expansive, and sometimes, divided city.
The closure didn’t surprise me—I’ve long wondered how sustainable the DNAinfo’s business was, having intimate experience with it in Logan Square. As a competitor of LoganSquarist, our existences have been entwined since DNAinfo Chicago moved to the area. After they had built their footing in Logan Square, they started distributing a printed newspaper, free of charge. For a digital media outlet, it seemed like a step backwards for the organization.
Last week, when I finally typed out my thoughts, I felt grief, nostalgia and hope. Odd to see those three feelings together, but it’s representative of my state of mind. I feel grief in the direction journalism is headed, that the industry has still yet to figure out a sustainable business practice that breaks ties from its history. I feel nostalgia as I reflect on media’s complicated past few decades, recalling all the years I spent in college studying media conglomeration. I feel hope that at least in some small part, LoganSquarist will continue to serve a neighborhood I deeply love.
I shared my thoughts on how we can keep local journalism alive, even in the aftermath of DNAinfo and Chicagoist. How as a volunteer-organization, we are still committed to providing news to the neighborhood, and how we even want to do more. I also offered some solutions, including joining, supporting and advertising with LoganSquarist.
Have your own thoughts? I’d love to read them in the comments or hear from you personally. I encourage you to reach to me at [email protected].