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Chicago News Cooperative To Shut Down, Cease Operations Feb. 26

Chicago News Cooperative Shutting Down

First Posted: 02/18/2012 1:11 pm Updated: 02/18/2012 1:11 pm

The Chicago News Cooperative, a non-profit public-interest journalism organization launched in the fall of 2009, will reportedly cease operation Feb. 26.

The Chicago Reader reported Friday that CNC founder James O'Shea, a former Chicago Tribune managing editor, announced the news to the cooperative's staff Friday afternoon.

According to the Reader, the CNC, which has contributed a mini-section of Chicago news twice a week to the New York Times, asked the paper for additional funding to support its continued operation, but the Times turned the cooperative down.

The Wall Street Journal reports that, according to a person familiar with the matter, the Times will publish its final CNC pages Feb. 26 and O'Shea is reportedly planning to shut down the cooperative's website soon.

While the CNC has ended its partnership with the Times, Crain's Chicago Business reports that it is "in discussion" with the Chicago Sun-Times about continuing some of their coverage areas with their paper, particularly in the area of education reporting. Going forward, the cooperative could also split into separate for-profit and non-profit units.

The cooperative reportedly ran into problems with the IRS, according to the Reader. Dealings with the IRS have plagued other non-profit news organizations in recent months.

The CNC's reported shuttering is only the latest news of financial struggles among Chicago journalism outfits. Before heading to a paywall model in an attempt to boost revenue late last year, Sun-Times Media had handed down hundreds of layoffs over the past two years. The Tribune Company, meanwhile, has a bankruptcy bill of $231 million and counting and has also cut employees, Crain's reported last month.

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Filed by Joseph Erbentraut  |