I'm very saddened by today's news that EveryBlock has been shut down by NBC News.
I founded EveryBlock in 2007 after receiving a grant from the Knight Foundation. It was launched in January 2008 by an original team of four (Wilson Miner, Dan O'Neil, Paul Smith and me) and was acquired by msnbc.com in 2009. NBC News acquired msnbc.com last year and now has decided to shut down the site and let go all 10 employees.
The premise of EveryBlock was to offer you a custom site devoted to news in your neighborhood. We showed you nearby public records (crimes, building permits, restaurant inspections), pointed you to automatically indexed articles (newspapers, blogs, forums) and provided a sort of "geo-forum" that let you talk with people who lived near you. I wrote a bit about the site's legacy several months ago.
I left EveryBlock in August, after five years, as I was itching to make something new. I had no idea NBC News would be shutting it down (in fact, at the time, I said I expected it would be around for a "long, long time"). The last time I talked with an NBC News representative, at a conference a few months after I left EveryBlock, he indicated that NBC was optimistic about the site's future.
I'd like to thank all the EveryBlock employees past and present, along with the members of the EveryBlock community. It was a great site, beautifully designed and lovingly crafted. It made a difference for people, particularly in Chicago.
More than six years ago, I wrote a blog post that got some attention about how newspaper (and, really, journalism) sites needed to change. EveryBlock was an attempt at that kind of change -- in my eyes, a successful attempt. EveryBlock was among the more innovative and ambitious journalism projects at a time when journalism desperately needed innovation and ambition. RIP.