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Today We’re Rebooting Center Square Journal

By Mike Fourcher | Tuesday, February 26, 2013

I’m excited to announce the Reboot of Center Square Journal. We have some big plans that include some fresh blood, some editorial direction changes, some new services and an important 90 Day Reboot Campaign. As part of our Reboot, we’re going be asking a lot of you in the coming months.

One important thing will stay the same: CSJ will stay focused on our community with high quality reporting you won’t find anywhere else.

Everything we’re kicking off today builds on our January 31 community meeting and the private feedback I received from dozens of volunteers and supporters. From those conversations I concluded four things need to happen so CSJ can be successful in the long-term:

  1. We need to pay writers for quality work.
  2. We need money. Chambers of commerce and local advertisers might provide part of that, but they are not the complete solution.
  3. I can’t run the business operations. We need a volunteer general manager to do that.
  4. Individual readers need to claim the site through donations and higher readership (mostly email subscriptions, which are high value to advertisers).

So, to get that all done, we’re:

Adding A General Manager

Emily Young, a dynamic Lincoln Square resident and reader has volunteered to serve as our new General Manager (her CSJ email here). Emily is graciously volunteering her time and marketing background to help us bring focus to CSJ and to help organize the dozens of people who have offered to help. Expect to hear more from Emily as she works to organize a number of exciting events and initiatives we have planned.

Merging RVJ With CSJ

Our number one request from January’s meeting was to combine Roscoe View Journal and Center Square Journal into one site. We’ve done that so all content from RVJ is still accessible, and old links on RVJ will bounce you to a new location on CSJ. You can search for old RVJ stories on the CSJ site too.

Becoming A Monthly

Starting Thursday, April 4 CSJ will publish monthly, the first Thursday of the month, with a focus on longer-form pieces. We’re placing a new emphasis on email subscriptions so that links to stories will be sent to email subscribers on Thursdays first, and then accessible on the web to the rest of the world on Fridays. So make sure you subscribe!

Keeping On Great Writers

Many of our best writers and contributors will be writing for us right away, including Geoff DankertCarrie MillerVictoria Weidel, and Meryl Williams. Once we complete the Reboot, we plan to pay writers what their worth, but for now these great reporters will be volunteering their service. They rule.

Bonus: Launching CSJ Forums

Today we’re officially launching CSJ Forums, a new community discussion area. Everyblock’s closure was a tough blow, so we’re aiming to fill some of that empty space with a new, free area for our community to come together online. Our team will keep the site up and work to moderate discussion. Please login today and start connecting with your neighbors!

The Reboot Campaign

All of this: And much, much more, is part of our 90 Days CSJ Reboot Campaign. For the next three months, until May 30, we’re going to be focused on raising $10,000 from our readers and getting 10,000 email subscribers. These numbers are important, since they make a big statement about what people in the community think of us. To meet them, we’re going to be holding monthly volunteer events and we’re planning a big bash fundraiser in late May. And yes, we’re going to need a lot volunteers to get it done.

If you want to play a direct part, please join us on Tuesday, March 12, 6:30 p.m. at DANK Haus, 4740 N. Western Ave. [RSVP HereWe’ll be talking about specific roles you can play.

I’m very excited about the new version of Center Square Journal. With a new focus on volunteerism, I believe it can be a long-lasting contributor to the neighborhood for years to come. As always, please drop me an email if you want to talk. We thrive on your energy and ideas.

Thank you for reading and being a part of our community.

Yours In Service,

Mike Fourcher

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