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When most think of places of importance in Chicago, Englewood is normally not top priority. Although there are not touristy attractions at the 63rd St. El stop, there are places of importance for the children and teens who inhabit the underprivileged neighborhood. From schools to restaurants, the 63rd St. El stop provides more than a convenient location hop off a train.
Englewood’s most important locations for students are located right around the 63rd St. El stop. There are many schools in the area, but there are also places where students could shop for school supplies or grab an after school snack.
Although Englewood is an underestimated neighborhood in Chicago, most do not realize how much is happening. While Englewood is probably not at the top of a tourist’s to-do list, there is a lot to see and experience in the neighborhood. There are not typical sight-seeing spots, but there are many schools and organizations that make a large difference and impact on Englewood’s citizen’s lives.
Gapers Block founder, Andrew Huff, visited and spoke to DePaul University’s Online Journalism students on Monday, September 12. Though he has much experience in the world of online journalism, Huff does not pretend that breaking into these wireless realms is easy. Nor is it flawless. This is because the online world is fast paced and ever changing.
This is apparent as he realizes, during his presentation, that Gapers Block has been hacked. Again. Although some do not understand the significance of hacking, Huff worries because there is possibility that his hijacked links will deter traffic to his site.
“I’m really nervous about this,” Huff said, “I can’t wait to get out of here.”
But what is Gapers Block? Huff explains it by describing the actual meaning behind the saying. A gaper’s block is the slow down in traffic that occurs when people stop to check out accidents. This Chicago-specific saying fits, what is now, Gapers Block’s motto of having people slow down and check out cool things around the city.
Gapers Block has a distinct voice. Huff says it is pro city without blinders on. When something is going wrong or bad, they’ll call it out.
“We love the city. We’re passionate about it,” Huff said, “But we’re not blind to its faults.”
Gapers Block is a successful site with 90,000 unique visitors and 500,000 page views per month. But it is an ever growing and changing blog. With new writers and ideas being thought of and tossed around regularly, the site’s newest addition, Huff hopes, is a business section.
“A lot of business isn’t covered,” Huff said, “I think as our site has grown, our mission has grown from just covering cool things to covering what isn’t being covered elsewhere.”
Although the business section has not been added yet, it is something Gapers Block is thinking a lot about. It is an area that Huff is still figuring out how to approach.
Having written for the Ohio State newspaper, the college Huff attended, he moved on to write for the McHenry paper. He then spent 10 years working in Public Relations, which he says he didn’t love, but didn’t hate.
His devotion to blogging was almost accidental with the development of his personal blog, me3dia.com. The site began as a portfolio for his career, but turned into much more. He has since worked on a number of different blog projects, including one for American Express.
His goal for Gapers Block is to eventually be able to run the site as his full-time job through advertisers. Until then, though, he is happy working a regular job as well as maintaining Gapers Block. It seems this goal is plausible because of the distinct voice and honesty Huff has worked so hard to build.
“A lot of my career has been about voice and getting my voice right,” Huff said.
Luckily for him, Gapers Block seems to have gotten it right.