New Hyper-Local Internet News Site Breaks Kickstarter Record, To Launch In Coming Weeks

Mike Krauser
March 08, 2018 - 1:15 pm

Mina Bloom/Block Club Chicago Kickstarter

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CHICAGO (WBBM NEWSRADIO) -- When the hyper-local Chicago news website DNA info was shut down, staffers were encouraged by readers to start their own site.  And they say they’re floored by the support.  

Block Club Chicago wrapped up its on-line fundraising effort on Thursday morning.

Shamus Toomey, editor in chief, said they far surpassed the initial goal

“We were completely overwhelmed by the support of Chicago. We initially asked for $25,000 to help us get off the ground and we got a $183,720,” he said. “Just remarkable."

They broke the $172,000 Kickstarter record for local journalism fundraising. Toomey said cheers erupted among the editors and reporters when they surpassed the 172 figure on Wednesday afternoon. 

More than 3,000 people donated to the start-up.  He said it shows there’s a hunger for the kind of local journalism they did at DNA info and will continue to do. It was actually fans of the site that persuaded staffers to start their own company.  He said they said they would pay for it.

Block Club Chicago will be like DNA info, a neighborhood news website. What’s different is it’s a non-profit and they’re abandoning the advertising-based model and going with subscriptions, which Toomey said will cost about $5 a month. He said they already have about 3,000 subscribers before publishing a single story. 

The launch will be in the coming weeks.