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The Chi-Town Daily News is shutting down — or is it rebooting? Founder and editor Geoff Dougherty says on the electronic newspaper's Web site that the "editorial team. . .is moving on to launch a new, for-profit local news venture." Dougherty laid off his staff yesterday, but "we expect to rehire them at the new company shortly."
The Daily News was Chicago journalism's high-profile Web-only venture. Dougherty had a knack for getting impressive grants, and for getting the Daily News's name and his own in those occasional national stories on intriguing ventures in local Web-only journalism.
But the grants weren't enough. "The Daily News needs $1 million to $2 million per year to do a great job of covering a city as sprawling and complex as Chicago," Dougherty says on his site. "And despite hundreds of phone calls and letters to foundations, corporations and individual donors over the past four years, we've never come close to that.
"Last year, we raised about $300,000. This year, due to the economic downturn, it was unclear whether we would be able to maintain that level of revenue, let alone move quickly to expand our coverage."