To help cover the neighborhood news gap that was left when DNAinfo Chicago shut down in November, three of the publication’s former editors are launching Block Club Chicago, according to the organization’s Kickstarter campaign, which raised more than $33,000 as of Tuesday morning, surpassing its goal of $25,000.
The new digital publication, slated to launch in April, will operate as a nonprofit media outlet that will primarily be supported through subscriptions, which the organization is saying would be around $5 per month.
“For less than that last cocktail you really didn’t need at happy hour, you could support the independent, community-focused journalism this city badly needs,” the company wrote on its Kickstarter campaign.
Shamus Toomey, DNA’s former managing editor, will serve as Block Club Chicago’s editor-in-chief. The other two founders, Jen Sabella, DNA’s former deputy editor and director of social media, and Stephanie Lulay, DNA’s former senior editor, will serve as director of strategy and managing editor, respectively. The media outlet currently has a team of five reporters, but will also depend on regular freelance contributions.
“Once we launch (April!), we’ll be doing what we do best: covering the hell out of Chicago’s vibrant and diverse neighborhoods,” the organization wrote on its Kickstarter campaign.
After hitting its goal Tuesday morning, Block Club Chicago updated the campaign, saying that if it raises $50,000, they will be able to buy cameras, software and other equipment, and if they hit $100,000, they will add another full-time reporter to the team.
Besides subscriptions, Block Club Chicago will also fund itself through investments from Civil, a blockchain-based platform that assists hyperlocal media startups across the country.
“While we have a bit of money to get the site launched, we want to be sustainable,” the media outlet wrote on its Kickstarter campaign. “In order for us to survive this time around, at least some of our readers will have to pay for the news.”