Friday, May 4, 2012

A good word for Journatic

Posted By on 05.04.12 at 06:01 PM

Mike Fourcher
  • Digital news entrepreneur Mike Fourcher
And Journatic could use one. It's from Mike Fourcher, the digital news entrepreneur who announced Friday he's going to work there as production manager.

Fourcher's the founder and publisher of Brown Line Media, a small constellation of hyperlocal digital news sites—Center Square Journal, Roscoe View Journal, and Edgeville Buzz. Last September he announced the creation of the Chicago Independent Advertising Network, a good idea that didn't work and went out of business six months later.

In 2010 he played the central role in setting up Early and Often, the pay-walled package of political features offered by the Chicago News Cooperative through the 2011 mayoral election. When CNC went out of business in March, Fourcher mourned as someone who gets it that online news will do a lot of things wrong before it figures out how to do them right. "The folks at CNC did great work, they just didn’t get all the pieces right," he wrote. "CNC should not be judged as a failure, but as a trial that didn’t work out."

Will Journatic get the pieces right? When I Introduced Journatic (here and here) as the new operator of the Tribune's TribLocal operation, the reception was scornful. The hiring of Fourcher—like Sun-Times Media's recent hiring of CNC/Tribune veteran Jim Kirk—is a sign that whoever's actually running the asylum, they've put somebody sensible at the front desk.

"I am joining Journatic because I believe they are improving the way people get the news they want," Fourcher said in a note to Brown Line Media readers. "The procedures of newsgathering have barely changed since Benjamin Franklin published the Pennsylvania Gazette. Journatic is providing news organizations with a whole new set of newsgathering tools that are simple yet revolutionary. That is too exciting a transformation for me to pass up."

He said he'll keep his hand in at Brown Line Media but in "a greatly reduced role."

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