CSJ Prepares For Transition

By Mike Fourcher | Thursday, January 10, 2013

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After three years of operation, it’s time for a change at Center Square Journal. 

I’ve been getting ready for my personal next act for a number of months, and since our last editor was hired away by the Sun Times last week (congrats, Sam!), this seemed like the right time for a change. I believe our team has created a public trust, and as such I’d like to let the public play a role in what comes next for CSJ.


While CSJ and RVJ continue to have strong audiences, even with the arrival of some stiff new competition, the economics just aren’t there for a set of stand-alone neighborhood news sites in Chicago. 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.

I also believe that the community needs to decide for itself if they want to support the sort of publication CSJ is today, and what sort of financial support exists in the public, since no single organization is likely to pay the full freight of the publication.

To discuss this, we’re hosting a community meeting three weeks from today, at 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, January 31 at DANK Haus, 4740 N. Western Ave. If you’re interested in helping to determine the future of a vibrant neighborhood-based community publication, please join us.

All sorts of community members have been invited, including our contributors, regular commenters, advertisers and non-profits. I’ll make a presentation on the readership, costs and revenue of CSJ, and then a moderator, Ravenswood resident Ryan Blitstein, will moderate a discussion about what CSJ means to the community and what is it’s worth.

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

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