Specialty News

1. catalyst-chicago.org
Total score: 28.9
Reach: 21
News quality: 4.4
Engagement: 3.5
The website for this publication that covers education in Chicago combines in-depth magazine-style coverage with daily updates through its Catalyst Notebook. While it provides a venue for extensive comments and social media integration, it does not respond to comments from readers.

2. progressillinois.com
Total score: 28.8
Reach: 21
News quality: 4.4
Engagement: 3.4
Covering politics from a progressive point of view, ProgressIllinois.com provides both original coverage and aggregated content. The site’s Twitter feed features high quality engagement, however comments on the website are lacking.

3. chicagoreporter.com
Total score: 28.3
Reach: 19
News quality: 4.8
Engagement: 4.5
This website focuses on the magazine’s primary purpose: investigative reporting, with a focus on race and poverty. The site features the magazine’s articles and two blogs: Chicago Muckrakers and The Teen Reporter. Written content is supplemented by photos and the occasional video. Comments are few and far between, though the site asks for tips on every page.

4. gridchicago.com
Total score: 27.9
Reach: 20
News quality: 3.8
Engagement: 4.1
This blog provides coverage on sustainable transit issues, predominantly cycling with reader engagement via comments and on Twitter.

5. activetrans.org/
Total score: 27.2
Reach: 20
News quality: 3.7
Engagement: 3.5
The Active Transportation Alliance’s blog features news on the organization’s work as well as transportation issues generally, especially biking. While it’s possible to share content, social engagement seems minimal, and the site does not necessarily invite readers to suggest blog posts, blog ideas or ask questions.

6. capitolfax.com
Total score: 26.9
Reach: 19
News quality: 4.7
Engagement: 3.2
This is the “authoritative” news blog on Illinois politics by journalist Rich Miller. Reviewers praised the writing for its conversational quality and for inviting comments. Miller engages with readers on the website and on Twitter, and he also uses his personal Facebook page to promote CapitolFax and interact with readers.

7. yochicago.com/
Total score: 26.86
Reach: 20
News quality: 3.46
Engagement: 3.4
This site covers real estate with a mix of well-sourced stories and a few “infomercials” for buying real estate. There is no contact information for the writers of the site and some commenting from readers.

8. chicagoparent.com
Total score: 26.46
Reach: 18
News quality: 4.66
Engagement: 3.8
Chicago Parent’s website is a “must go-to” site for parents, covering babysitting to summer camps to children with special needs, and providing timely information, blogs and the magazine’s extensive archives. The site operates a reader community with space for personal essays and offers Facebook and Twitter accounts but does not engage with readers on Facebook or Twitter.

9. district299.com
Total score: 24.53
Reach: 17
News quality: 4
Engagement: 3.53
This site brings together timely news and perspectives on Chicago Public Schools and education issues. Reviewers considered it a “must read” for education reformers and CPS watchers. Comments are lively. The ChicagoNow template makes it hard to connect to Facebook and Twitter.

10. chicagoradioandmedia.com
Total score: 24.5
Reach: 19
News quality: 2.9
Engagement: 2.6
This site covers mainstream broadcast media industry news. Some content is independently reported while other items appear to be press releases. While photos appear with most stories, they are not always selected to enhance the story. The site features message boards but does not use Facebook and Twitter for reader engagement, but rather to promote its stories.

11. secondcitycop.blogspot.com
Total score: 22.86
Reach: 18
News quality: 2.8
Engagement: 2.06
This blog, written by an anonymous Chicago police officer, aims to represent the point of view of rank and file Chicago police officers. Comment volume is quite high: all comments are anonymous, providing “unvarnished opinions, often not nice” and not always featuring opposing viewpoints.

Specialty News: Honorable Mentions
Additional sites that play an important role in Chicago’s online news ecosystem. 

NEXT: Neighborhood News

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What I Read…

Sam YaganFernando DiazValerie DenneyLaura WashingtonEarnest SandersAmbar Mentor Truppa
Where do individuals go, especially those people who are big-time consumers of news because their jobs and day-to-day lives depend on being in the know? A long-time public interest PR professional, the managing editor of a major daily, a well-known columnist and reporter, a South Side community leader, a social media savvy publicist and the founder of a well-known start up took time out of their busy days to tell us what they read to stay informed. Read More