Published on Monday, 18 June 2012 10:39
The Windy Citizen, the online local news aggregation website, will be shutting down as of this week. Founder Brad Flora made the surprise announcement on the website earlier this morning.
relied on submissions from its approximately 100,000 unique monthly users for its content. While websites like Digg and Reddit performed similar functions at the time WindyCitizen.com was started, those websites were national in their scope and tended to just regurgitate news stories that most had already heard about or seen before. The Windy Citizen was entirely Chicago-centric, with Chicagoans posting news links, photos, events, deals, and items of interest to other Chicagoans. Readers could also rate links and discuss the items on the site.
(Note: Chicagoland Radio & Media was a contributor to WindyCitizen.com in 2012, posting links to its news items about Chicago media.)
The WindyCitizen.com website was founded in May 2008 by Chicago-based writer/producer/entrepreneur Brad Flora. As a writer, Flora's work has appeared in Slate Magazine, the Chicago Defender, Northwest Indiana Times, Daily Southtown, and EContent Magazine. Brad was the publisher and founder of the Chicago Methods Reporter. However, it was his social media project, WindyCitizen.com, that he is best known for currently.
Based on the work he had done with his real-time advertising software on the Windy Citizen website, Brad Flora was awarded a grant of $250,000 in June 2010 by the Knight Foundation. He used that to create NowSpots
, a spin off from Windy Citizen's advertising technology to allow local website publishers a way to make money doing more than just banner ads. NowSpots will remain open and is not affected by the closing of WindyCitizen.com.
Flora graduated in 2004 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in English from Princeton University. In 2008, he graduated from Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism with a Master of Science degree in Journalism.
The reasons for the end of the Windy Citizen website are many. One reason has to do with the cost of running and maintaining the website, which was costing more than it was bringing in. Another reason is that in the over four years since Windy Citizen started, the Internet has changed greatly, with many other ways to now get similar information.
Here now is Brad Flora's full announcement
from earlier today:
I've decided to close down WindyCitizen.com as of this week. As of right now registration has been turned off as well as all posting and commenting. I'm still mulling over how best to switch things off, but want to get the process started and let people know.
There are many reasons for doing this, but the main one is that for some time now it has cost more to keep up than it's been generating revenue-wise. Rob Larson has been a big help keeping things going, but the spammers continue to proliferate, we never really got the performance issues solved, and frankly, the internet is a lot different today than it was just over 4 years ago when I started Windy Citizen as a place to find and share local news. Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, Pinterest, Everyblock, these sites do a great job of keeping people up to date on what's happening in the communities they care about. Reddit's city subreddits like r/Chicago were very small 4 years ago but now are healthy discussion forums with lots of helpful information. If you're not checking in there for your Chicago fix, you should be!
I hope to write a more detailed post-mortem at some point in the future, but for now, thanks so much for all your contributions, support and friendship these past 4 years.
If you'd like to say hello or have any suggestions for what to do with Windy Citizen, you can reach me at
Signing off for now,