Former DNAinfo members create new company

Stephanie Lulay, WGN's Matt Bubala and Shamus Toomey (WGN Radio)

When DNAinfo closed abruptly, many reporters were left without jobs. Former senior editor Stephanie Lulay, Jen Sabella and managing editor Shamus Toomey have teamed up once again to create Chicago Block Club. Their mission is to re-create that accessible news outlet.  Block Club Chicago is a non-profit that plans to grow with times of journalism. “Our initial goal was twenty five thousand, and we have reached one hundred and thirty five now,” Lulay says. Toomey says that Block Club Chicago is a subscription based service were readers are allowed so many stories a month for free. Mostly subscription is five dollars a month, and if readers donate more than fifty bucks, they were given a subscription.

As Lulay and Toomey reached their monetary goal, they were excited that Chicagoans supported more reporting in a variety of neighborhoods and the suburbs of the city. Nostalgia played a part, as well. “One of the things we committed to early was was hiring another reporter,” Lulay says.  Currently they have five full-time reporters. Since the kickstarter campaign was a success, they are looking to hire more reporters in the future. “Going forward every dollar we spend will invest in reporting. We are trying to be as creative as possible to get good stories,” Lula says.

The five reporters will focus on neighborhoods where they live–or, are experts on. For example, shootings are a problem for Chicago. She explains how reporters covered stories like this protesting violence, which are stories you might not be able to see that often in a paper.

Block Club Chicago is teaming up with a New York tech company called Civil. This company will host Block Club Chicago’s website, where the goal is to have it completed by April.

To subscribe, visit their website or follow the non-profit on Twitter.