Thoughts on ChicagoNow

It finally launched.

The new blog network from the Chicago Tribune finally launched.

I’ve known about the site for a month or so, after I was invited by Bill Adee and Tracy Schmidt to come in for a focus group about the site. Honestly, it was less of a focus group and more of a tire-kicking and I kicked the shit out of that metaphorical tire. While I’ve definitely become friends with folks at the Trib since we were introduced to Colonel Tribune a year or so ago, I didn’t hold back with criticism or suggestions at that meeting or in subsequent emails.

A few of my thoughts about the site….

First of all, kudos to the team for getting this launched. I had a backstage pass and logged in often between the focus group and the launch. I saw the site when it was crawling and have seen the screenshots of the master plan. I appreciate that the Trib is willing to launch before the site is perfect. Better to have a beta than to have nothing.

Something we said regularly when I was at Edelman was, “Build friendships before you need them.” Over the past year, staff at the Tribune have worked hard to build relationships with local bloggers and twitterati. They’ve held tweet-ups, they come to our events, they respond to Tweets and showed a committment to sticking around.

I really feel like this project was a natural progression of building relationships and not just throwing a bunch of stuff at the wall to see if it sticks.

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