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ChicagoTalks 2015

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ChicagoTalks.org (CT) is an online, edited, hyperlocal news site. It was started in 2006 by Barbara Iverson and Suzanne McBride with grants from J-Lab and the Knight Foundation, to be a working lab for journalism students as well as a community and citizen news site. Columbia College continues to support ChicagoTalks.org and its sister publication, AustinTalks.org.
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We want stories about Chicago-centric people, places, and things. From breaking news, to arts reviews, to fashion, poetry, photography, and more, ChicagoTalks.org publishes local news about neighborhoods. CT is edited by journalism graduate students.
Posting a story is easy and DIY and open to anyone:
1. Register at http://chicagotalks.org
2. Find “New” and “Post” to open the story window
3. Type or copy/paste your story.
4. Add at least one photo, with a caption (it can be from Creative Commons or Wikipedia, but we prefer photos taken by the story author.)
5. Change the status of your story from “Draft” to “Send to Editor” when finish it
The editor will review it and contact the author if necessary. You get notified by email when your story is published.
Why write for ChicagoTalks?

The Louvre Museum has 8.5 million visitors per year. ChicagoTalks.org was viewed about 100,000 times in 2014. If ChicagoTalks, were an exhibit at the Louvre, it would take about 4 days for that many people to see it.

The busiest day of the year for ChicagoTalks, was August 7th, 2014 with 1,187 views. The most popular post that day was Closed Bridges have Blue Island Residents Driving in Circles.

ChicagoTalks (CT) averages 270 to 300 readers per day. On its best day, it had more than 1100 viewers.

More than 500,000 people have read ChicagoTalks since it went online in 2006. There are more than 3300 stories published on CT. We have published with The New York Times, The Beachwood Reporter, and other publications.

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When a story is published by ChicagoTalks, it counts as an edited online publication, and promoting it via social networks, can increase its “reach” and your reputation as a writer and reporter.

[/pullquote]Each author has a unique page which links only to his or her own stories.

ChicagoTalks is a place where video reporters polish their writing, where a writer can try being a photographer, where you can promote your friend’s band, where you can be a reviewer, a technology writer — in other words, it is a place to establish your voice and range as a journalist and communicator. Because ChicagoTalks is edited, a published story is more than a blog entry or vanity post.

An author’s initial stories are to be edited by the teacher, then submitted. After an author has published two or more stories, they can pitch ideas to ChicagoTalks, or just post stories that are proofread carefully.

What are the basics of a ChicagoTalks story?

1. It tells a story

2. It includes a photo, preferably one you took yourself.

3. Photos have captions with attribution.

4. You checked your facts (names are spelled correctly, dates are correct, quotes are accurate, etc.)

5. You add value to your work by putting in links to people, places and things you write about (e.g. an alderman’s website, the URL of a music venue, a local business Facebook page, etc.)

Since the story is building your reputation, make sure you have a short but useful bio on http://gravatar.com. You enter a bio on gravatar with a photo, and it will show up in ChicagoTalks.org.