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Huffington Post debuts Chicago version

Arianna Huffington

TEXT OF STORY

Kai Ryssdal: Media companies are increasingly taking a page out of the political playbook. The page that says all politics is local. Papers and Web sites are banking on the same being true for all kinds of news. Tomorrow, the online Huffington Post, which bills itself as the Internet newspaper, spins off its first local franchise in Chicago. Marketplace's Renita Jablonski has that story.


Renita Jablonski: Browsing the Huffington Post around lunchtime today, the site's full of stories about the conflict between Georgia and Russia. Tomorrow, that same space on the Huffington Post Chicago may be dedicated to Illinois lawmakers fighting over budget issues. Or hip-hop star Kanye West opening a Fat Burger franchise in a Chicago suburb.

Joseph Turow: It's an attempt to try to do what a lot of people are saying Web sites ought to being doing now, publishers ought to be doing, which is to try to go hyper-local.

Joseph Turow is a professor at the University of Pennsylvania's Annenberg School for Communication. The local take on the Post is modeled after the national version. It'll link to articles from newspapers like the Chicago Tribune and area blogs like the Chicagoist. Turow says while the Post could increase traffic for those sites, it may also compete with them.

Turow: From the standpoint of Chicago online publishers and the print media there that are struggling like many in the country, it could be a problem.

Willow Bay is senior editor at the Huffington Post. She says the goal is to work with Chicago sites, not against them. But she admits growing the Huffington Post brand will mean bringing in a steady stream of advertisers.

Willow Bay: I think there's significant ad revenue potential, but I'm not going to comment on ads already in.

Bay says "HuffPo," as some regular readers call it, could be rolled out in 10 to 20 more local markets during the next year and a half.

I'm Renita Jablonski for Marketplace.

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