Hyper-local news site EveryBlock bought by MSNBC

MSNBC.com has bought the US hyper-local news and information aggregator EveryBlock.

The site allows users in 15 cities across the US to enter their zip codes (postcodes) and get news, public information, photos and local blogs about their neighbourhood displayed across interactive maps.

Everyblock, which has been operating since July 2007, was established by data journalism expert Adrian Holovaty with a $1.1m grant from the Knight Foundation.

Holovaty rose to public prominence after designing and launching Chicagocrime.org to chart publicly available crime information onto maps.

Local information and news is increasingly being seen as valuable by big web portals. Microsoft’s news and entertainment portal MSN is looking to add UK regional newspaper content to its MSN Local site, integrating papers’ feeds with with its postcode-searchable map.

The terms of the Everyblock deal with MSNBC.com were not disclosed, however, reports have claimed the price tag was several million dollars.

The company’s six full-time employees have all been hired by MSNBC.com, and will remain in the company’s Chicago headquarters.

MSNBC.com, a joint venture between Microsoft and NBC Universal, said it would continue to operate the site as a distinct brand, “with the same logo and design [and] with the same everyblock.com domain”.

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