Chicago’s Hyperlocal News Sites

February 2, 2011

At a recent media breakfast hosted by Business Wire, we had the opportunity to discuss how “Chicago’s Media is ‘Transforming’.” Here are some of the highlights.

  • Hyperlocal-focus. News is getting hyperlocal – meaning that it’s more neighborhood and individual community driven than ever. An event that is happening in, say, Skokie may not be interesting to an editor at the Chicago Tribune, but hyperlocal sites like and are looking for just that sort of information. These sites are built specifically for news and events that are happening in Chicago’s suburbs.
  • More autonomous writers. As PR professionals, we have all heard editors tell us, “I like the story but let me check with my editor.” At online sites like, a network of topic-related bloggers post information that is interesting to them – without the approval or input of anyone else. Since writers make the decision about what is posted, it gives us the opportunity to work with them directly.
  • Journalists vs. Experts. For local news organizations, staff is shrinking. Now, one person may be charged with a task that was shared by 10 people a few years ago. Therefore, sites are relying on external experts in the field to provide editorial content. Web sites like use professionals in industries such as healthcare and education to provide insider information about what is going on in their respective fields. This both opens up and diversifies the number of influencers writing in our community.
  • User-generated content. Sites like run solely on user-generated content. Customers and community members – as well as PR professionals – can post news directly to the site and select which suburb to which the news is relevant. This means we have the opportunity to relay our message directly to readers in our own words.

Overall, if your news is important for a specific town or topic, make sure to tap the unending potential of hyperlocal news sites!