Introducing: The Center Square Ledger


January 13, 2010

I haven’t posted for a while because I’ve been busy. At last I’m ready to speak.

Sometimes you just have to put your money where your mouth
is.

I’ve been ranting for months that there are all kinds of
niches available in news for those who want to exploit them, so I’m starting a
new site, www.CenterSquareLedger.com,
“Your definitive neighborhood guide to Lincoln Square, North Center and
Ravenswood Manor.”

We’re two neighborhood guys: me and Patrick Boylan (you
might know him as Lou Grant) who want to keep track of what’s going on in the
area and tell the many stories about what’s happening next door and just down
the street.

It’s a hyperlocal news site limited to our neighborhoods.
Want to know about the CB2 moving out? That house fire last night? What about
events or restaurants in the area? 
The Center Square Ledger is your place.

We don’t want to compete with the Tribune. We are covering
“small j” journalism – the stuff the big boys ignore but people in your ‘hood
care about deeply.

We don’t want to compete with Everyblock. We think there’s
value to folks in the neighborhood chiming on the restaurants in the area and
sharing their pictures of the area – and hopefully we’ll get some serious
comment discussions going on in the articles.

Some details on getting things together:

  •  I
    coded the site myself starting with WordPress. It’s taken a lot of time, but it
    wasn’t as hard as I thought it would be.
  • Our
    start-up costs are very, very low. We purchased the domains, we use MailChimp, and
    we’ll print some cards to promote the site at El stops and stores, but for the
    most part, we’re doing this volunteer until we start making money from
    advertising.
  •  Yes,
    we will take advertising at very affordable rates.
    But for now we’re not soliciting ads, we want to ramp
    up traffic first. (That doesn’t mean that we won’t place your ad though!)
  • Yes,
    we are interested in strategic partnerships with other outlets.
It’s hard to say where this is going. Of course we’d like to have a publication that’s self-sustaining with a paid editorial and ad staff. But this is an experiment. While our inspirations Barista.New and MyBallard.com are successful, hyperlocal news is a new model and has yet to be proven in the long run.
I’m going to be using this blog to talk about The Ledger’s challenges as we move forward. I’m looking forward to this.

So, come on over and check out the Ledger. And tell your
friends!