Tribune Invests In Journatic, Extends Hyper-Local Content

Journatic, which creates hyper-local content for online publishers and advertisers, has received a strategic investment from the Tribune Co., effectively merging Journatic with Tribune’s TribLocal division, which publishes a network of community Web sites and print editions.

Journatic will take over the production of TribLocal, in essence allowing Tribune to outsource some local editorial content. Terms of the deal weren’t disclosed.

Journatic’s local content platform focuses on “people,” “places” and “events,” guided by intensive research into local markets to determine the interests of the local audience. Journatic also produces sponsored local content as a means for small and mid-sized businesses to connect with their audiences.

The Chicago-based company is already working for Hearst, and produces the entire real estate section of the San Francisco Chronicle, according to the Chicago Tribune report on Monday. Journatic is owned by the same company that owns Blockshopper.com.

Most of TribLocal’s 40 employees will lose their jobs, also per the Chicago Tribune, although 11 out of 18 reporters on staff will be reassigned to the Tribune’s suburban bureaus.

With Journatic in charge, TribLocal will continue publishing some 90 local Web sites and 22 community papers, with more reporting on subjects like real estate transactions, property tax logs, new business applications, crime blotter news, prep scores, test scores from schools, and local sports, per the Chicago newspaper.

While a number of big newspaper publishers have experimented with hyper-local online content strategies, some of these initiatives have failed to gain traction or proved prohibitively costly. In July 2011, Gannett shuttered the company's 17 hyper-local news sites in New Jersey, which operated under the umbrella InJersey.com site.

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