Evanston Now marked a milestone this summer — reaching 15,000 readers a month, up roughly 50 percent from the same time a year ago.

That’s very encouraging in an era when many people are talking about a declining interest in news.

Evanston Now marked a milestone this summer — reaching 15,000 readers a month, up roughly 50 percent from the same time a year ago.

That’s very encouraging in an era when many people are talking about a declining interest in news.

And our readers deserve much of the credit for that growth. You’ve been spreading the word about Evanston Now — telling your friends and sending them links to stories. And you’ve been building the site by adding your own news and comments. We greatly appreciate it and hope to continue to earn your trust.

Death of news? Not here

One of the things that makes Evanston an attractive community is its robust media market. In a time when many towns are losing news sources, the count here in Evanston is at an all time high and growing.

The chart above shows the estimated audience or “unique visitor” counts of five Evanston online news sources last month. Evanston Now’s numbers are actual traffic reports from the third-party measurement service Quantcast.

To calculate figures for the other sites we’ve used estimates from two services, Quantcast and Compete, using whichever number was higher.

For the two locally-owned independent sites — The Evanston RoundTable and Evanston Online — that was straight forward.

For the two sites owned by outside interests — the Evanston Review site published by the Pioneer Press arm of Sun-Times Media LLC and the TribLocal/Evanston site owned by the Tribune Company — only aggregate numbers for the entire range of communities each publication serves are available. That’s about 40 towns for Pioneer Press and nearly 100 for TribLocal.

For the Evanston Review, we calculated the percentage of all Pioneer Press print circulation represented by the Review and applied the same percentage to the group’s online traffic to estimate the Review’s online audience.

Lacking overall print circulation numbers for the weekly TribLocal print supplement to the Chicago Tribune, we calculated the percentage that Evanston’s population is of the total population of towns served by the TribLocal chain and used that to estimate the TribLocal online audience in Evanston.

Shrinkage in print

On the print side, The Evanston RoundTable continues to free distribute 15,000 home-delivery copies every fortnight, although you may have noticed that the paper has shrunk from a frequently 40-page size a couple of years ago to as few as 28 pages this year.

The Evanston Review, having shrunk its page size in recent redesigns, is now down to a paid print circulation of 5,410 copies, according to the latest Audit Bureau of Circulation report released this month.

TribLocal claimed 15,000 weekly print circulation for its combined Evanston/Skokie print edition when it launched, and we haven’t seen updated numbers since.

What’s ahead

Evanston will get yet another news source next month when AOL — already at over 100 local sites and claiming to be shooting for 500 nationwide by year-end — launches an Evanston edition of its Patch product.

And another big internet company, Yahoo, is reportedly hiring people to launch a local news product in Chicago and other metro areas in coming months. No clear word yet whether Yahoo plans to target towns the size of Evanston.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

Join the Conversation


  1. Congratulations!

    Congratulations! You’ve come a long way! I think you’re a great source of local news and, equally important, a place where locals can get a sense about how others are feeling. Personally what I’d like to see is some sort of online partnership between you and the Evanston Roundtable, the only other local source for real news (Sorry Pioneer Press but the Review fails to cover a lot of important news — but I do know who goes to the weekly benefits). It takes a lot of work to combine produce both a written and electronic "newspaper" and having the Roundtable and Evanston Now join forces to produce an even stronger electronic "newspaper" would be valuable to all of us.

  2. I doubt it.

    To me, Evanston Now represents all that is wrong with the media. Not unlike the Evanston equivalent to Fox news, most of the reporting and all of the stories to be one-sided, editorialized and badly slanted. Rupert Murdoch has nothing on Bill Smith.

    The increased numbers represent an ability to simply stir the pot and create antagonism through race and class baiting and worse. I could never see the reputable and hard-working Evanston Roundtable joining forces with EN. Ever. 

    I only started paying attention with the recent Library discussion, but it seems to be a consistently one-sided message and is harmful to our community and what it could potentially be. Also interesting that members of the City Council and staff also seem to count on EN for "news"… 

    1. Evanston Fox News – now that would be the ticket

      So Lori K  if you disagree with a news story then it’s race and class baiting akin to Fox News. I see.  I’m sure if you had your way you would shut down Fox News and Evanston Now in a heartbeat. 

      You provide no examples to back your outrageous and silly claim about Evanston Now – you just rant on with intolerant innuendos.

      Comparing Evanston Now with Fox News is ludicrous and down right funny. I did get a good chuckle, thanks.

      Debating the issues is part of the democratic process and is certainly not harmful to the community. Evanston is lucky it has several local news outlets.

      Although I don’t agree with some of the opinions on this news site, Evanston Now in my opinion is far superior to the Review, and to Roundtable, which Bill Smith used to write for – the Roundtable’s loss and Evanston’s gain.

      As a moderate right-leaning conservative, I think it would be nice to have a local conservative news outlet. But that’s not the case, so for me I do the best I can as a news consumer and citizen in a  liberal community that my wife (an obvious tolerant liberal) and I like.

      But hey Lori, although I don’t agree with what you wrote, it’s nice that you shared your feelings. That’s the beauty of the free marketplace of ideas.

    2. Stop and think


      I appreciate your comments regarding the site and the media, the merits of the article.

      What I do not appreciate is your interjection about race and class baiting which has absolutely nothing to do with the article.

      You are the one stirring the pot. 

      You found it convenient to bash a right leaning network using a classic Dem ploy – change the argument to race and class.

      Do you not think that the country is sick of this kind of rhetoric?  What does your post say about you? 

      Think about it.

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