EveryBlock Debuts, as the Sun-Times Winds Down

EveryBlock, the much-anticipated new project from ChicagoCrime founder Adrian Holovaty, debuted Wednesday– at least for Chicago, New York and San Francisco. (Was it a a coincidence that Wednesday was also the anniversary of the birth of Django Reinhardt, Holovaty’s gypsy jazz guitar hero?) I’ve had fun exploring restaurant reviews and Flickr photos near my block, and I’ve heard nothing but praise so far– including from a friend in New York who is turning her neighborhood council onto the service. Adrian and his team are freakishly talented, but the usefulness of the project largely depends on the degree to which local governments will make their– our– information available. (Relatedly, Tom Steinberg and MySociety today unveiled a new set of public transport maps. I’d love for the Chicago Transit Authority to be involved– the CTA announced the purchase of new cars yesterday.)

As Adrian and his team were basking in their deserved laurels today, across the Chicago River the evisceration of the Chicago Sun-Times continued. Michael Miner makes the case that the loss of 29 positions was not as bad as expected, and I think more than one of them was glad to get the layoffs, expected for weeks, over with. Will the Sun-Times survive as a source of local journalism, or is it just a matter of time until we are a one paper town.

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