Mobile Journalism: class blog

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Mobile/Local: assignment one

For the first assignment in our Mobile/Local project with Chicago Public Radio, I’d like for you to do a survey of the current local media landscape. This will help us to figure out new directions, define well-trodden ground, see obvious holes, etc.

This means looking at local media—the big ones and the small ones, from the Tribune to Gapers Block, Channel Five to Chicago Defender.

Choose FIVE–go for diversity, not everyone needs to do the Sun Times–and do the following:

• Define their coverage area both in terms of geography and in terms of audience. Who is this site for and where do they live? How are they catering to those needs?
• Define their focus. Are they covering every aspect of life in Chicago, or only focusing on certain aspects?
• What are they doing well? Consider this question carefully.
• What are they doing poorly? This one too.
• What is their mobile strategy? Define this by:
–visiting their site from a web-connected mobile device. What happens? Is it usable?
–visiting their website from a computer and see if they’ve clearly defined mobile instructions.
–figuring out if they’ve got an app, or are partnered with an app (for instance, what local stations are on the Public Radio Tuner?)

Post your findings in the comments here, so we all have access to this information..

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Filed under: Homework

10 Responses

  1. 1.Windy Citizen– I intern there, so makes sense I start here. The site covers any news related to Chicago and nearby suburbs. Almost all the news on there is user submitted aside from a few blogs and some original reporting. Chicagoans vote up the best stories, so it should be a representation of what matters most to the audience. Anything can go up, though our audience tends to prefer the smaller, unheard stories and media related stories.

    WC gets a LOT of news from the city on a daily basis and pull out stuff that major media misses, think Lewis Black on The Daily Show. WC has also fished out authors of articles and have had plenty of discussions that really add to the stories. It does lack in original content, but that is not the focus.

    There is no mobile strategy right now outside of Twitter. The site is bulky and slow on a phone and often links out to more sites that are bulky and slow.

    2. Broke Hipster– The site is dedicated to eating, living and, most importantly, drinking cheap in Chicago. It used to be just food and drinks, but has gone to add more museums and things to do during the day. The site is for younger, college age and recently graduated. Also caters more to those that like to go to trendy bars rather than sports bars. Hipsters.

    They list everything free and cheap and display it easily and update it daily. They only really show the day of special and tomorrow if you register, so it is hard to plan far ahead with them.

    On their main site they tell you to add them to their mobile favorites and their mobile site is quick and simple. The site seems to be far more geared to mobile use than web use which makes sense with the service and audience. There is also an active Twitter account and FaceBook used.

    3. Gapers Block– A great local news site. They tend to cater to a younger audience that is out of college and working. Pretty much all Chicago news gets covered.

    They do a fantastic job at linking you to interesting things about Chicago. The center column is also one of my favorite places to go to see what is going on in Chicago. The site is simple, but a lot of text which may turn people off.

    The lack of pictures though makes their lack of a mobile site less of an issue. Their site in a phone browser actually works pretty well. The three columns allow for zooming in and easy reading of any one of them. Off their front page it isn’t so nice, but not terrible. As far as a mobile strategy, they have a FaceBook and Twitter, but nothing beyond that.

    4. The Beachwood Reporter– An online Chicago paper. It pokes fun at major media constantly. It is very liberal and that is the target audience. Likely a bit older then just out of college students too.

    They have great commentary and are generally an enjoyable read. Personally, I don’t think the site is much to look at and bores me. They also don’t update too often, not compared to my previous three.

    The simple layout again makes the lack of a mobile site not too awful to view in a browser. Beyond that though they have little to no mobile strategy. There is no link to their Twitter and the only mention of them off their main site is their newsletter.

    5. The Windy Pixel– Daily photo blog of Chicago pictures or pictures taken by Chicagoans. The work here is great, original and best of all free to use with attribution. Most pictures come with a paragraph from the photographer. I am always pleased when I check out the page every couple days. The photographers all seem younger, and very artsy, and I suspect that to be their audience, if they even planned to have one.

    They have great pictures, regular updates and a simple page. For a photo blog they do a really great job in my opinion. I would only ask for more updates out of selfish desires.

    As for their mobile strategy, they have Twitter. Their site takes a bit to load due to pictures, but not to the point where you wouldn’t go if you really wanted to see the site. Otherwise, the artists have their own Twitters and that is about all.

  2. Lisa Guillen says:

    The Beachwood Reporter covers all of Chicago although its audience is much smaller than that. Since Beachwood isn’t a traditional news source and since its an internet publication its audience is limited to those who have heard about it. Typically these people are internet savvy (younger),open to humor and liberal. Which is whom TBR seems to cater to. The site is mainly for Chicagoans but being that they talk about music, tv and books it could actually be read by people outside of the area. The Beachwood Reporter doesn’t focus on all the news happening in Chicago, it mainly focuses on entertainment and politics. That being said because it’s a small community they don’t update often. They don’t even seem to have much of a presence outside of the website at all. I like the design of their site because it’s simple and easy to navigate. Also, because they are a small group they are able to connect more with their audience and built more of a relationship which I think is a plus. That being said I think there marketing is poor, none of my friends outside of the journalism world have heard about them. As far as their mobile strategy it is nonexistent. They don’t even have a twitter account, Steve Rhodes once said he didn’t like Twitter therefore they weren’t going to use it. Although, their site isn’t bad to look at via the mobile web but that just goes back to the simple design rather than designing with mobile use in mind.

    Next I’m going to look at the WGN channel 9 news. Since I was an intern there I’m most familiar with how they operate. WGN aims to cover all of the Chicagoland area including suburbs in Indiana and sometimes even Wisconsin. Their audience is very broad because they are a television station and often air their news at different times than the competition. WGN News will cover anything topical from a bank robbery to Kanye West. Their goal, like most traditional news companies, is to cover a broad range of topics. I think they do a good job of getting in a lot of information in a short amount of time and I also think the do a good job of making their web presence known on the air. Their mobile strategy is pretty good actually. They have polls on the air that you can answer via text and all of their news shows (morning, midday and night) all have twitter accounts. Also, some of their anchors have twitter accounts as well. Also, when I went to the WGN website from my Blackberry it redirected me to the mobile web version of the site. Not only that but I discovered they have a WGN Blackberry app!! You can download the app for free and although I didn’t download it, it seems like it could be useful.

    The Chicago Reader is a weekly newspaper. The focus for them is mostly entertainment although they do have a good amount of op ed pieces and features that focus on news as well. The target audience for the Reader seems to be people 40 and under, people who live in the city and are dare I say ‘hip,’ although it does seem to welcome people who aren’t exactly their audience. The reader is a great place to get information about what’s going on in the city in a way that’s not too pretentious and is fun to read. I think The Reader is doing a good job covering city events and getting the ‘scoop’ on things that people who aren’t reading The Reader wouldn’t know about. As far as being mobile The Chicago Reader does have a twitter account, which it updates regularly. To be honest I don’t go to The Readers site much, I mostly read their Twitter, they provide links to interesting/fun/useful stories via their Twitter and I think they’re using it exactly how a publication should. Going to ChicagoReader.com from my blackberry brings me to the regular website – they don’t seem to have a mobile version. To me this is a big flaw because it took a good two minutes just to load the site on my phone. I looked around on their website and I didn’t see a phone application at all (maybe I missed it?) but I wouldn’t be surprised if it wasn’t coming soon.

    The Chicago Tribune is your standard newspaper. It covers all of Chicago and the surrounding areas and it’s where most people, still reading newspapers, get their news. I think the Tribune does a good job of linking its print news to its website and the website is usually pretty up to date. My dislikes for the Tribune are all over the place but I suppose it’s mostly nitpicking and not anything really valid. Like most of the other publications The Chicago Tribune also has a presence on Twitter. Like WGN (because the Tribune company owns them both) they also have a mobile website, which honestly I much prefer over their regular website, it’s much cleaner and more to the point. They also have a Blackberry and an iPhone application! They seem to be at a pretty good point for as far as mobile journalism has gone so far.

    Last is the Windy City Times which is geared towards gays and lesbians living in Chicago. The newspaper focuses on news in that community as well as entertainment and culture. I think Windy City Times does a good job getting stories out there that wouldn’t normally be told. I also like that they are a fun publication that is aimed at its readers being educated in the GLBTQ world. One thing I think they are doing all wrong however, it their website. It is completely cluttered and it took me far too long to navigate. Their mobile strategy seems to take a back seat to their other endeavors although they do, of course, have a twitter account. Going to their website using my Blackberry brings me to their regular site but it does seem to load pretty fast despite how busy and scattered everything looks.

  3. 1. Chicago Magazine focuses on Chicago proper and many surrounding suburbs. Declaring itself “the recognized authority on dining in Chicago,” most of the articles published have a human interest slant. Needless to say, Chicago is not the best source for straight up news. Chicago Mag is on Twitter, Facebook and has a YouTube channel. Readers of Chicago Mag are usually a bit older and affluent. If nothing else Chicago Mag seems to think readers care about real estate. No mobile specific site.
    2. Chicago Reader is similarly entertainment/dining/art museum focused. Though it focuses more strictly on Chicago, readership is a bit more spread out as it is a free paper. For the most part this publication is geared toward younger individuals. While many of the news articles are written by freelancers, they aren’t necessarily earth shattering: Olympics! Parking meters! Daniel Burnham! No mobile specific site.
    3. Chicagoist is a city focused blog covering news (rather sports-heavy), food and the arts. I remember seeing an call for fashion bloggers at some point last year but as the fashion coverage is virtually nonexistent, I might assume that it’s not a priority. On the other hand, the food section is rather well represented. Twitter account and a mobile site, which in my opinion looks better than the regular web site (fewer ads).
    4. Chicago Breaking News is a blog site dedicated solely to (go figure) Chicagoland news. Though sometimes it reads a bit like a glorified police blotter, it’s good to have a site that focuses on what is happening in Chicago (crime, city issues). They allow you to see breaking news by area in Chicago (north/northwest, south/southwest, west). No fluffy, feel-good stories here (probably these types of pieces don’t qualify as “breaking news”) and no mobile site.
    5. Breaking Tweets Chicago Kind of an interesting site featuring short news blips as seen on Twitter (sort of a pile of Chicago-based trending topics). Swine flu, sports stories, Olympics have been covered. I

  4. Keri Morgan says:

    Chi-Town Daily News is online newspaper that reports on Chicago neighborhoods. They are currently struggling and do not have anything Mobile. They could try to recruit volunteer reporters in more neighborhoods as well to get more coverage. There are a lot of colleges/journalism students who I am sure would like to help them out once they get their money issues sorted out. They could greatly expand if they took that approach. The Tribune’s breaking news section should offer texts to your phone with devloping stories. ABC, CBS, NBC, WGN have taken advantage of facebook. Most of their reporters or anchors have pages and often include their newscasts with things off of it. They also do a nice job of incorporating texting polls etc. I think they should offer more ‘alerts’ type things subscribers can sign up for with their phone. I think NCTV17, the naperville channel, should offer more information on their website. They don’t do that great of a job with updating it or putting too much information on it. They are a suburb west of the city. They have different programs that cover events in the city of Naperville. I think they should offer things like score report updates to be sent to phones or update at least their website with more info with scores, accidents etc. I can’t really think of anything else besides the major networks I follow in the city….

  5. Annie Pilon says:

    NBC 5
    NBC 5 is TV news for all Chicagoans. The mobile site looks exactly like their regular website. They do have a mobile site and instructions on their main website. You can also sign up to receive text alerts on breaking news. NBC 5 doesn’t have its own app (at least I didn’t find one), but there are other apps, such as the Chicago Local News app, that gets news from several sources, including NBC 5.

    Chicago Magazine
    Chicago Magazine is not a great venue for hard news, but it delivers information about Chicagoland, mostly focusing on food, entertainment, and other feature-y stories. I could not find any mobile strategy on the website. The site on my phone looked the same as the one on my computer. But the magazine does have many social media accounts – Facebook, Twitter, etc.

    Windy City Times
    Windy City Times is a small print publication for Chicago’s gay community. I see absolutely no mobile strategy for this publication. Their website really doesn’t have many innovative or interactive features, and I could not find any text alerts/social networking accounts/anything.

    Red Eye
    Red Eye is a free publication targeted toward Chicago’s young adults. This site just got a makeover, and I’m not really a fan. It’s sort of jumbled and confusing on the computer, and it’s the exact same (only smaller, so more confusing) on my phone. They seem to be very into blogs, but don’t have any mention of a mobile site or text alerts on their website. I also could find no apps for/dealing with Red Eye.

    WBBM
    WBBM is a news radio station targeting Chicago and the surrounding suburbs. I could not find an app or interesting mobile site for WBBM, but they do have a text alerts program, where people can sign up by texting or on the computer.

  6. Tim Young says:

    1. Sun-Times
    The Sun-Times covers the Chicagoland area, mostly the city. They target more blue-collar workers. They cover all of the aspects of the city from sports to new to politics to whatever. I’m not sure if they’re doing anything well or poorly. Based on the fact that they are having trouble selling newspapers and getting readership. I wasn’t able to find anything as far as mobile. I dont have a phone with internet.

    2. Chicago Tribune
    The Tribune is similar to the Sun-Times, but has a bigger readership around the Chicago area. They reach people from all different backgrounds and classes.

    3. CLTV
    CLTV has a lot of news stories, but they are in a video format. They reach an audience around the Chicagoland. They just don’t focus within the city limits.

    4. NBC Chicago
    NBC Chicago focuses on mainly the city of Chicago. They cover the basics of news from politics to sports to general problems in the city. Occasionally they’ll go outside of the city.

    5. Daily Herald
    The Daily Herald focuses on the western suburbs of the. Even though they pay attention to what is going on in the city, they leave that to the Sun-Times an the Tribune. A big focus of their paper is what is going on in the community and with the high schools. They pride themselves on having a good high school sports section.

  7. Chicago Tribune
    1) Their coverage area is from downtown city residents to surrounding suburbs. However, they seem to be more aimed at a white-collar type of audience. They cater to this audience by doing a lot of stories involving personal finances.
    2) It seems like they try to, although most of it doesn’t get too much play besides the important ones. For example the one Chicago story that gets on the big spot on their website is the one about liquor prices going. I understand why though, it’s a story that will grab people’s attention. Overall it seems they do a pretty decent job.
    3) I like their new landscape style paper. I think that was a good move for them to try and make their paper easier to read on the go. Their news coverage seems slightly above average. But overall it’s no better than any other paper I read time to time.
    4) Their website is frustrating for me. While their new design is slightly better than the old one. It just seems to me they are still lacking a good setup of top stories and a proper layout.
    5) They do have a page on their website to help you out with getting news on your mobile device. But it is hidden way at the bottom of the website. That I don’t understand.

    Chicago Defender
    1) Their coverage is quite simple really. They are focused on reaching African American and those interested in African Americans affairs anywhere in the Chicagoland area. Their readers could live downtown, suburbs, and north side, Southside. They cater to their audience by not beating around the bush so to speak. They put out stories that are right to the point for their audience.
    2) They try to focus on every aspect of life in Chicago, but they’d o put a heavy emphasis on life in Chicago as an African American. That is their audience though so I completely understand why they do this.
    3) They do a good job of knowing what their audience wants to read. They know their audience, their audience knows them, and it is a very basic relationship between the two.
    4) Their web site is really poorly designed. It looks like it was developed in the year 2000 and looks very low budget.
    5) There was no page on their web site that helped me figure out how to get their stories on my mobile device. This is a big problem for them and something they should address immediately.

    Daily Herald
    1) Their coverage area is for those who live in the suburbs of Chicago. The Daily Herald caters to this by putting a good emphasis on stories involving what’s going in suburban communities, especially their high school sports section.
    2) They do not focus on every aspect of life in Chicago but they do focus on every aspect of life in the suburbs of Chicago.
    3) They know their audience is the suburbs so they do a good job of putting emphasis on suburban stories. For example when you go to their web page, you immediately see a story involving Buffalo Grove.
    4) I personally would like to see their website updated slightly, it’s layout could be changed to be a little sleeker looking and easier for the readers to navigate.
    5) I also didn’t see any help for a mobile device on this website. Although upon further research I discovered an article saying that it will be making a change so that it can be more mobile friendly soon.

    ABC7 Chicago
    1) Their coverage area is all of the Chicago land area, including downtown, north side, Westside, Southside, and suburbs. They cater to this by trying to focus on all Chicago stories as their primary stories.
    2) They do focus on every aspect of life in Chicago and do a good job of tackling the stories that most Chicagoans would find interesting or helpful.
    3) Their website is put together very nicely. They realize that video is, obviously, their strong point. So right when you go to the web site you are greeted with a large video player, with options on all of the top stories to play.
    4) This might sound weird, but I really couldn’t find any one thing they are doing poorly. Their website is great, their videos are well put together.
    5) This website was the one that had an immediate promotion at the top to sign up for mobile alerts. They didn’t hide this page at the bottom like the Tribune. Very nicely done.

    Chicago Sun Times
    1) Their coverage area is all of Chicago and surrounding neighborhoods, but they have more of a blue-collar audience as opposed to the Chicago Tribune. They cater to their blue-collar readership by focusing on basic news stories and putting a heavy emphasis on their sports section.
    2) They do focus on every day life in Chicago but, again, with a heavy emphasis on sports in particular.
    3) Their sports section is the best in Chicago and one of the best in the country. They have good insights into Chicago teams and have the ability to go beyond what you might have seen in the game on TV.
    4) Some of their story selection is questionable. Like their front page today featuring an inside look into the Obama marriage? For the front page?
    5) Just like ABC7 Chicago, the Sun Times website had a good sized box letting you know to sing up for mobile alerts, right at the top of the page.

  8. Derek Brown says:

    Tribune Co. (WGN & Chicago Tribune):
    1) Coverage Area: The Chicago Tribune and WGN are for the Chicago and its suburbs. It for people that want to the top stories in the Chicago Metro area and around the world.
    2) The Focus: The Tribune Co. is breaking news and they do this by their Breaking News Center, which is a blog that is updated as the stories develop.
    3) Good Job: They do a good job with the breaking news coverage because the blog is updated very frequently and it keeps you up to date. It is also great because it works with all of the Tribune Co. enterprise in print, radio, TV and Internet. The blog is also linked up with Twitter, so you can get tweets every time breaking news happens.
    4) Bad Job: The link for the Breaking News Center Blog is hard to find on the ChicagoTribune.com, while it’s right on the top of the page for WGN-TV.com. The other thing that they lack on WGN-TV.com is that the video is not able to work on a mobile device.
    5) Mobile Strategy:
    • Visit Site: ChicagoTribune.com loads a little slow but the stories are readable but it’s not a mobile only site.
    • Mobile Instructions: As of right now I can’t find any instruction on the Chicago Tribune’s site, but the Breaking News Center Blog allows you to sign up for breaking news SMS and emails.
    • Apps: The Tribune also has several apps including: The Chicago Tribune and Sports, and WGN Traffic and a lot of WGN podcasts.

    ABC 7 Chicago:
    1) Coverage Area: ABC 7 News is for people living in the Chicagoland area and it best for people that like television news.
    2) The Focus: They focus on all aspects of Chicago because they are the number one newscast in the area, so they can’t leave out any information. They also have a 24 hour cable station for weather and news updates.
    3) Good Job: They best is that they have a separate website for mobile users, it is very easy see the top stories and even watch video.
    4) Bad Job: They have no breaking news website to fallow stories as they develop, just alerts and no iPhone apps.
    5) Mobile Strategy:
    • Visit Site: They have a separate mobile web site.
    • Mobile Instructions: There is a page that teaches you how to sign up for alerts and how to use the mobile site.
    • Apps: They have a 2nd party app “local news” that sends you to their mobile site. They also have 6 podcasts.

    WBBM 780:
    1) Coverage Area: WBBM airwaves reach most of northern IL, southern WI and Northwest IN. the news coverage is mostly Chicago but the focus on stores for their whole listening area.
    2) Focus: They focus on Chicago news 24/7.
    3) Good Job: When listening they have updates of stories all the time and it is very reliable to find out the weather and traffic, because they are always on time.
    4) Bad Job: Looking on their web site there is no mobile links but Text Alerts and with the iHeartRadio app does not include them in the local stations.
    5) Mobile Strategy:
    • Visit Site: WBBM780.com works on my phone and it was very fast to load but it is not mobile friendly when clicking on links.
    • Mobile Instructions: Can’t Find any
    • Apps: PodCasts but no apps.

    Chicago Reader:
    1) The Chicago Reader is for the Chicago Metro area and focus is on the Arts.
    2) Focus: Entertainment in Chicago.
    3) Good Job: They make the news interesting by incorporating it with entertainment news.
    4) Bad Job: ChicagoReader.com has too much stuff going on and it’s hard to find the news that you want. Also no mobile content, just RRS Feeds and a monthly newsletter email.
    5) Mobile Strategy:
    • Visit Site: The site works but it is hard to see content with out zooming in.
    • Mobile Instructions: None
    • Apps: None

    Time Out Chicago:
    1) Time Out Chicago is a Weekly arts and entertainment publication for the metro area.
    2) Focus: All events in Chicago
    3) Good Job: They are great at telling you about all events happening in Chicago and the site has provocative headlines to get you attention. They also have Twitter listed on their Homepage and Google reader.
    4) Bad Job: There is not way to get the information on you phone. Their site is slow to load and is the same as on a computer
    5) Mobile Strategy:
    • Visit Site: Slow to load not friendly
    • Mobile Instruction: None but Twitter and Google Reader
    • Apps: None

  9. danielzarick says:

    1. Chicago Sun-Times: Their coverage is of world news, but with a focus on Chicago-area happenings. Most of the audience is Chicago-based, but their pieces often get picked up nationally. The focus is major world and Chicago news, as well as sports, entertainment, etc. As for what they are doing well is very little. They are not pushing any boundaries and most articles seem to be repeats of larger news stores. Their website is lacking any cohesive flow and it is hard to tell why I would go to their site. Their mobile site loads quickly over WiFi. They put Metro news and local sports up top, which is smart for their market, but otherwise it is just a repackaging of their main site. They also have breaking news SMS alerts for local sports teams. No clear mobile directions on website.

    2. Chicago Tribune: The Tribune’s site is much clearer and shows featured stories in a way that is easy to browse quickly. Their coverage and audience is similar to the Sun-Times’. The quality of reporting isn’t at the highest of standards, but their distribution isn’t terrible. They do not have a mobile site, which is a terrible thing. It is slow to load and nearly impossible to navigate. They do have SMS updates for breaking news and sports stories, but that can’t be effectively used as a “mobile strategy”. Link to mobile directions on website at the top, but poor execution. They do have two iPhone applications, one news reader and one sports app. Both apps are basically just a pretty repackaging of the news… pointless otherwise.

    3. Daily Herald: The Herald is a suburban newspaper which covers local area news, as well as Illionois and world news. Their website is bland, and none of their stories seem to be incredibly enticing. No clear mobile directions on website. There is a mobile-optimized website, but it is just a clean, stripped-down version of the main website.

    4. Gapers Block: Local Chicago news site that is particularly text-heavy, in a good way. Clean design with a nice hierarchy. They mainly focus on Chicago news from a variety of topics, usually with a twist. No mobile strategy, and no mobile website. Since their site is primarily text, it loads relatively fast, but it still is hard to navigate.

    5. Chicago Daily News: Straight-forward website that reports on local Chicago news. One primary news story with a photo, and the rest of the site is mainly text, besides the user-uploaded photos. There are multiple feeds brought in from around the internet showing up-to-the-moment news. They have no link to their mobile site, but they do have one. They have prominent links to their Twitter and Facebook sites, as well. Their mobile website is just a straight feed of the most recent and featured stories, but nothing exciting otherwise.

  10. This is tricky, for we’re looking for news content providers. Here’s my list:

    1. NBCChicago.com – I bring this example only because I am interning there at the moment and have been looking at how they handle the news. They mostly aggregate news from other sites such as the Tribune or Sun-Times and mix it up with their own sources or content, when available.
    What they do well is cover live events by live-streaming them. Having a huge TV station behind them helps a lot, and there is a good coordination between the online team and the news desk (they all work in one big common space).
    2. ChicagoTalks.org – Gotta support your school, right? Columbia’s journalism department has had this site running for a couple of years and they have recently improved it by switching to the WordPress platform. What I like about this site (where you can also find some articles of mine, by the way) is that it is original content produced by journalism students at our school.
    I can speak for the graduate program, and I can assure you that there is a lot of professionalism put into it by the teachers that edit the articles. Recently they have been trying to upload more video content, too.
    3. http://chicago.everyblock.com/ – This is the perfect example that is closest to Ushahidi. People post their news and what’s going on in their neighborhoods and the site updates with news and also specifically points to where the news is happening. The coolest part is that it allows you to search for news closest to you by inserting your ZIP code in the search bar.
    4. Twitter – If you think about, Twitter could become the new Google. If everyone started to use Twitter to let others know what is going on in their neighborhood or city, others could look that up by searching through various topics filed under specific hashtags (#).
    Twitter is also helpful for knowing about breaking news. If it is a big national or international story, it will probably show up quickly between the most discussed topics, otherwise you can keep up to date by just following local news stations, newspapers and news websites.
    5. Chicago Tribune and Sun-Times – I have to give the old dinosaurs a little credit. They are professional journalists who sometimes screw up but they try their best to stay on top of things. I like to look at the Tribune’s Breaking News page that is constantly updated (http://www.chicagobreakingnews.com/blog/). It also offers a map of where things have happened.

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