Hyperlocal news site EveryBlock announced today it was shutting down for good. The closure marks an unexpected end to the site, which was once hailed for its innovation and ideas; the phrase "future of journalism" was once tossed around in reference to the site.
The site's homepage now bears only a short farewell message:
We're sorry to report that EveryBlock has closed its doors.
Thank you for having let us play a role in how you get your neighborhood news. Thanks for the contributions, for the questions, and for allowing us to connect you to each other, in many cases to make great things happen in your community.
For a bit more info, please visit our final blog post.
The EveryBlock team
Poynter spoke to senior vice president and chief digital officer of NBC News Vivian Schiller about the sudden closure, and why NBC didn't try to sell EveryBlock before closing down completely.
"I understand that the Everyblock community is disappointed. So are we. We looked at various options to keep this going, but none of them were viable. It was a tough call to make."
EveryBlock was founded on a grant from the Knight Foundation in 2007 by Adrian Holovaty. The idea was simple but new: news more local than ever before. EveryBlock didn't just cater to your television market or your entire city, it was broken down into neighborhoods so that what you were reading was happening practically in your own backyard.
MSNBC (and therefore NBC News) bought EveryBlock in 2009; two years later it was relaunched as a sort of hyperlocal social network, equal parts news aggregation and citizen journalism. Neighbors could chat about what was going on around them, as well as read news that directly affects the area in which they live. It's a similar concept to, and former competitor with, AOL's Patch. Holovaty left EveryBlock last year.
On his blog today, Holovaty said he "had no idea NBC News would be shutting it down," and was "saddened" by the news.