Huffington Post launches first local site: Chicago braces for celebri-blogging

Chicago’s got several online news sources: The Windy Citizen, Chi-Town Daily News, and Gapers Block, are all excellent and locally owned. And we’ve got network blogs like Chicagoist bringing the snark, but is the city that works ready for Moby?

It had better be, because here come the pretty people: The Huffington Post has invaded Chicago.

Huffington Post Chicago

From Phil Rosenthal’s coverage in this morning’s Tribune:

“I just got a great blog post from John Cusack,” Huffington said. “People who are from Chicago have all these amazing warm feeling and memories of Chicago. … It is tribal. John is in Bangkok making a movie, and he was kind of emotional with this ode to Chicago.”

The local sites have been working the HuffPo model for a while now: topical blogs, original news coverage and lots of links to the mainstream news sources with good news and shitty websites. Can Chicago sustain another?

Good and bad news

The good news is that all the local web sites (of which the HuffPo has an exhaustive list at the end of their home page) ought to see a lot more traffic with a high-profile site like the HuffPo linking to them. A rising tide and all that. Everyone gets more ad revenue. Woo, woo!

Ths bad is that the little guys like Windy Citizen are succeeding because the Sun-Times and Tribune suck at the web. If the HuffPo gets all the online readers and stops linking to the other web outlets, then it’s game over for local online news.

Or maybe they’ll hire the sacked Trib alums, buy the tower, and run the papers outta town.

Disclosure: I write a blog at The Windy Citizen, and occasionally give them a hand with nerdy things.