If you click on any story on the Homewood/Flossmoor site, you’ll see that each byline has a name followed by “South Suburban News Service.” Presumbaly in a northern suburb, it will read “North Suburban News Service,” etc. In any event, this is how you can distinguish a Journatic byline from that of a Tribune staffer.
Other differences I’m noting between this and my suburb’s edition (for the town of Northbrook), still run by Tribune:
- My edition still offers the option (up top) to sign in and create an account. This is presumably a holdover from the days TribLocal was using a lot of community content i.e. content not entered by Trib staffers. Also one needed an account in order to post a comment on a story. The Homewood/Flossmoor stories don’t appear to have commenting enabled. Will this stay that way forever? Will comments no longer be welcome on any TribLocal site since there will be no one to moderate them? Stay tuned.
- Peculiarly, Flossmoor includes a Contact Us link at the top while Northbrook does not. Northbrook has the info elsewhere though and it sends you to the same place that Flossmoor does: a page that looks like this. Some of the people listed here are among the staffers laid off by Tribune as a result of the Journatic deal. However, they haven’t departed yet and are still at their posts as far as I know.
- My edition still offers a link to sign up for a daily email newsletter. Flossmoor does not. Will there no longer be email newsletters? Again, stay tuned.
- My edition lists many more top level categories than Flossmoor; nine in all. Flossmoor only has six: News, Crime, Sports, Real Estate, Education and Athlete Tracker (an impressive-looking database of all active college athelets who hail from Homewood-Flossmoor). Conspicuously missing is the Government category. Will it and other categories be reinstated as soon as Journatic can get that coverage up and running? Time will tell.
- The URL structure is different for the Journatic-run page. It’s http://hf.triblocal.com whereas my Northbrook page is http://triblocal.com/northbrook/
- Homewood-Flossmoor has several things my edition lacks. On the right rail there is a police blotter, campaign contributions, the athelete tracker and, ala EveryBlock, new business licenses. These are clearly Journatic innovations as this stuff comes from raw data that is publicly available through various government bodies. The campaign contributions links are potentially quite useful though I’m not sure regular citizens would take the time to wade through them, much less come to any conclusions based on them. A typical item reads like this:
On March 27, William Davis For State Representative made a $600.00 transfer to Miller for Senate.
According to the Illinois State Board of Elections, William Davis for State Representative’s address is P.O. Box 704, Homewood, Ill.
Miller for Senate is a PAC created on December 20, 2011. Its stated purpose is “to Support the election of Donna Miller.” The address listed is 20340 Joy Drive, Lynwood, Ill. 60411.
Donna. Miller, of 20340 Joy Lane, Lynwood, Ill. 60411, is chairperson of the organization. Donna. Miller, of 20340 Joy Lane, Lynwood, Ill. 60411, is treasurer.
As you might imagine, I have a lot to say about all this and I have quite a few questions, but it’s still very early. I’m going to keep an eye on all this and see how things progress. The next suburbs to be turned over to Journatic are Geneva/Elgin, Hinsdale,Crystal Lake and Bolingbrook.
If you or anyone you know lives in Homewood/Flossmoor and can give me a read on how authentically local this page feels, please let me know by leaving a comment or emailing me at tooter2 (at) gmail (dot) com.
UPDATE 5-5-12 I am told that Journatic will eventually be doing government stories.