“‘What’s happening in my neighborhood?’
For a long time, that’s been a tough question to answer. In dense, bustling cities like Chicago, New York and San Francisco, the number of daily media reports, government proceedings and local Internet conversations is staggering. Every day, a wealth of local information is created — officials inspect restaurants, journalists cover fires and Web users post photographs — but who has time to sort through all of that?
Our mission at EveryBlock is to solve that problem. We aim to collect all of the news and civic goings-on that have happened recently in your city, and make it simple for you to keep track of news in particular areas. We’re a geographic filter — a “news feed” for your neighborhood, or, yes, even your block.
At this time, we cover three American cities: Chicago, New York and San Francisco. On each site, you can type in any address to read local news and public information near you. You’ll find three main types of news:
- Civic information — building permits, crimes, restaurant inspections and more. In many cases, this information is already on the Web but is buried in hard-to-find government databases. In other cases, this information has never been posted online, and we’ve forged relationships with governments to make it available.
- News articles and blog entries — major newspapers, community weeklies, TV and radio news stations, local specialty publications and local blogs. We do the work of classifying articles by geography, so you can easily find the mainstream media coverage near particular locations.
- Fun from across the Web — local photos posted to the Flickr photo-sharing site, user reviews of local businesses on Yelp, lost and found postings from Craigslist and more. We figure out the relevant places and point you to location-specific items you might not have known about.
We like to toss around the word “news” to describe all of this, and that might surprise you at first. Isn’t news what appears on the front page of the New York Times? Isn’t news something produced by professional journalists?
Well, it can be — and we include as much of that on EveryBlock as possible. But, in our minds, “news” at the neighborhood or block level means a lot more. On EveryBlock, “Somebody reviewed the new Italian restaurant down the street on Yelp” is news. “Somebody took a photo of that cool house on your block and posted it to Flickr” is news. “The NYPD posted its weekly crime report for your neighborhood” is news. If it’s in your neighborhood and it happened recently, it’s news on EveryBlock.”
More: Where 2.0 News Coverage