The Chicago Sun Times will roll out up to 30 hyper-local citizen journalism websites by the end of the year.

The sites will be grouped at, which launched three test sites in suburbs of Chicago in April this year, and cover small areas of the city that could be home to as few as 10,000 people.

The sites, which will be managed by a team of community reporters, will encourage local groups to post news, photos and a variety of local information to the site.

The Sun-Times has been trialling the service in three newly developed outlying areas of Chicago where communities are only loosely established.

The expansion, however, will bring the scheme into older neighbourhoods in the inner city.

John Cary, senior new media operations director with Chicago Sun-Times, told "They will be in areas where we have existing footprints so they will be an extension of our community papers that already have a site, but these will be micro zones.

"It's an exciting path for the industry is go, it's a fun thing to do…we can put news on these sites, citizens can upload, all we do is vet it to make sure no-body is slandering or libelling anybody else."

A team of community journalists moderate and fact check new material prior to publication, the sites then rely on the community to update information on the sites to keep the content relevant or to inform them if older content becomes irrelevant.

Besides filing their own news articles reporters assigned to the community patch also act as evangelists for the sites, getting about in their communities to encourage locals to spread local information via the sites.

The sites also contain links to relevant news from the more than 90 newspapers owned by the Sun-Times News Group.

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