Thursday, February 24, 2011

'Lake Effect News' Blog Officially Dead

Lorraine Swanson
February 24, 2011 - Chicago - A blog that promised to report news in most of the northeast portion of Chicago has disappeared. Lorraine Swanson, a well-respected Chicago-area journalist, launched her Lake Effect News (LEN) in May of 2009 after she left the Chicago Journal (of Oak Park, IL), where she was the editor of the News-Star. Swanson stopped updating the blog in September, 2010 when AOL's Patch hired her as the editor of Oak Lawn Patch.

Sadly, links cannot be provided to past LEN articles because Swanson took it down. There are no cached pages available. That's a shame, because some of the articles in LEN would still be a valuable resource for anyone researching events in Uptown over the past year. Oddly, however, the Lake Effect News store at CafePress is still up.

The death of Lake Effect News is ironic. Swanson put in many hours of devoted writing because, she said, she wanted to have "a body of work," although she already had that from her years with various local newspapers. The irony, of course, is that she has ripped her LEN body of work off of the Internet. It's a real shame - and a real loss - that nobody can dig back into LEN's archives. Many of her articles would be a good addition to any historical archive.

LEN never got close to it's stated goal of covering a large swath of Chicago. It did, however, give excellent local coverage of the 46th Ward in the Uptown neighborhood on the North Side, with an occasional article about Edgewater (48th Ward), Rogers Park (49th Ward) and West Rogers Park (50th Ward, also called West Ridge).

The Community Media Workshop had a nice article about Swanson in May, 2010.

Swanson did some good reporting for LEN, and she is a talented journalist. The graph below (click to enlarge) shows that LEN got around 8,600 unique visitors in the month of August, 2010. That went down dramatically the next month, to around 5,000.

Even after Swanson was no longer updating LEN with new articles, more than 3,000 unique visitors went to the site in October. Most of those, no doubt, realized that nothing new was going on and left, never to return. Lake Effect News was a valiant effort. We are sad that it is no longer, but Oak Lawn is richer having her there.