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EveryBlock Calls It Quits With No Warning

By Patty Wetli | February 7, 2013 11:36am | Updated on February 7, 2013 11:57am
 Final message from EveryBlock.
Final message from EveryBlock.
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CHICAGO — EveryBlock, a hyperlocal news and information site operating in a number of cities, including Chicago, pulled the plug on its operations Thursday with little more than a blog post to notify loyal followers of the decision.

"Farewell, neighbors" was the heading of a statement from the EveryBlock Team.

"It’s no secret that the news industry is in the midst of a massive change. Within the world of neighborhood news there’s an exciting pace of innovation yet increasing challenges to building a profitable business. Though EveryBlock has been able to build an engaged community over the years, we’re faced with the decision to wrap things up."

With an eclectic mix of posts that ranged from "Shots fired?!" to "Lost dog," EveryBlock filled a unique niche in Chicago's media landscape.

Users responded to news of the loss in typical fashion — posting their comments to EveryBlock:

"Really, no 1 week warning or anything?"

"Can the original owner buy it back from NBC ? THIS SUCKS !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"

"Everyblock was a regular part of my day and I learned so much about what was going on in my neighborhood. It will be missed by many."

EveryBlock was founded in Chicago in 2007 by Adrian Holovaty with a $1.1 million grant from the Knight Foundation. The site was acquired by MSNBC, a division of NBC News, in 2009, and Holovaty left the operation in August 2012.

EveryBlock had aggregated news and information in more than a dozen cities.

The news came as a surprise to Holovaty, who wrote on his blog Thursday that he was "saddened" by the announcement. At the time of his leaving, Holovaty said he expected it to be around for a "long, long time."

Even with its demise, Holovaty maintained that the site had been an "successful attempt" to change how newspapers and journalism sites operate.

"EveryBlock was among the more innovative and ambitious journalism projects at a time when journalism desperately needed innovation and ambition. RIP," he said Thursday.

In a post about the site's legacy from July, Holovaty said the news operation helped jumpstart trends toward open-data, custom maps and open-source code.

In a statement to Poynter.org, Vivian Schiller, senior vice president and chief digital officer of NBC News, said: “[EveryBlock] is a wonderful scrappy business but it wasn’t a strategic fit with our growth strategy and — like most hyperlocal businesses — was struggling with the business model."