Wrapports LLC, publisher of the Chicago Sun-Times, as well as dozens of suburban newspapers in the Chicago metropolitan area, is launching a new 70-city network of local Web sites and apps offering local reporting and news aggregation, serving around 70 cities across the U.S. Among other goals, the network will enable Wrapports to tap into local ad markets around the country and boost exposure and reach for Wrapports content, including entertainment, sports, and political coverage from the Chicago Sun-Times.
Operating under Wrapports’ existing Aggrego Services division -- which is already aggregating and distributing local news for Wrapports’ suburban newspapers -- the new network will expand to include mobile apps and sites in New York City, Houston, Seattle, Minneapolis, Cincinnati and Orlando, among dozens of other cities.
The project includes partnerships with local journalism and content creators, to complement the company’s own editorial output.
The 70-city local news network is the first step in a very ambitious plan to blanket the country with local news services. Previously, Aggrego disclosed that it plans to build a network of 13,000 local news apps and sites covering 18,000 communities across the U.S. Wrapports also hopes to extend the network to international markets beginning next year.
Like many other newspaper publishers, Wrapports is in the midst of a strategic realignment forced on it by the decline of print advertising and transition to digital media.
Earlier this month, rumors circulated that Wrapports was in talks to sell its suburban newspapers to Tribune Publishing, which publishes Sun-Times rival the Chicago Tribune. The deal would likely include the Southtown Star, Aurora Beacon-News, Elgin Courier-News, Lake County News-Sun, Naperville Sun, and the Post Tribune, plus dozens of weekly newspapers published across the Chicago metropolitan area by the Pioneer Press.
The Chicago Sun-Times previously closed its suburban bureaus and at one point laid off all its full-time photographers, although they were later rehired.