By Rhonda Alexander
Andrew Huff, Editor and Publisher of Gapers Block, a Chicago-based blog is generating more than interest, he is generating revenue. With the upcoming changes that are coming to the site and the grant money he recently landed, Huff is poised for the next level of success.
“These days writers have to create their own jobs because there are very few jobs in journalism” said Huff.
Huff graduated from college in 1997 and started his blog about the Chicago scene in 2001 with his weblog, Me3dia. Huff says he initially started the blog with the word of mouth marketing concept. It was also a neat way to keep his friends and family up to date about his life in one central place.
Gapers Block, Huff’s Chicago-based blog, launched in 2003 with the help of designer, Naz Hamid. Today, Gapers Block has a volunteer staff of 90 writers and 250,000 regular visits to the site per month.
What was once a way to keep friends and family up to date has become the recipient of a $35,000 grant, regular advertising dollars, t-shirt sales and has become a top notch competitor to other Chicago-based blogs such as ctatattler and Chicagoist.
Not only is he one of the first adopters of blogging, he’s turned something most people do as a hobby (with no hope of capitalizing), into a success.
He has parlayed his skills as a writer and spun that talent into numerous aspects of the media, keeping up with the ever-developing aspects of social media, like Twitter, tumblr and Flickr. In short, he’s taken his original blog, Me3dia and made his original concept of doing three forms of media into a reality.
Huff’s entrepreneurial spirit has taken him to places most writers only dream of going with their careers. He has written for Paranormal State, a mystery-based series on the cable channel A&E.
He’s done food writing for a travel blog wherein he traveled the world and reported back about global dining. He’s taught writing at Loyola University. He’s even been a consultant to other bloggers who want to set up blogs that are similar to Gapers Block in other cities.
All in all, the future seems pretty bright for Huff (and Gapers Block) who really embodies what it means to be a journalistic entrepreneur. Huff’s continued enthusiasm for his blog means that the changes he has in store will only increase the success he’s known to this point.
The changes Huff has in store such as, a more streamlined site, more photos and of course, more advertising revenue reflect his unbridled love for his craft. In short, Huff has proven that if you open your mind to the possibilities, they really can be endless.