While everyone is trying to get off the Titanic, Geoff Dougherty is boarding it.
Dougherty, the founder of an online news site in Chicago, ChiTown Daily News, which lost its funding this year, is launching a monthly tabloid called Chicago Current. The tabloid and its Web site will cover local politics.
Despite what seems like a counterintuitive move, Dougherty has a very good reason for this decision. Last month, he told Crain’s Chicago Business reporter Ann Saphir that “the money is in print, so that’s where we have to be.” What he means is that print publications demand much higher ad rates than Web sites. So, in a sense, that’s where the money.
And why does Dougherty, a former Chicago Tribune reporter, believe this publication work? Because it’s aimed at a niche: aldermen, City Hall department heads and other public officials. It will also be distributed free to public transit riders in Chicago.
“We’ll have niche content, a niche audience and niche advertisers,” Dougherty told Saphir. “It’s like a Politico or Roll Call for Chicago.”
Dougherty said he nearly has $500,000 in financing for the venture.
He’s a brave man—we’ll see if he’ just polishing the brass while the Titanic sinks.