The Printed Blog, a Chicago-based venture that culls blogs for free reprints, puts them on paper with the help of a mostly unpaid staff, and then distributes the issues twice daily, just launched. You can see a PDF of the paper here.
The model is about what you would guess at this point: "By publishing articles written by bloggers who are already diligently covering topics as varied as town politics and local fashion, Mr.
[Scott] Karp [Joshua] Karp can slash one of the biggest expenses of a newspaper: reporters." Thus it was with some morbid interest that I read through it.
What happens when you get rid of professional reporters? You get a small-town paper, whether it's targeted to Wicker Park or not. Where I grew up, people would write about rec league sports and squirrels; here, it's fetish bondage and Facebook.
It's... quaint. And I don't mean that as an insult. At first glance, I'd rather pick it up than the RedEye: what it lacks in, um, institutional gravitas it makes up for in a winning authenticity and the promise of the unexpected, the small charms that make me pick up community newspapers when I'm traveling.
The Printed Blog probably isn't the future, but it might be the past. There's something to be said for that.