Introducing the EveryBlock Widget

Aug032010

Today we’re launching a new feature that we think will really help local news sources provide content and context to their readers: the EveryBlock Widget.

If you have neighborhood blog, newspaper Web site, or any other online resource for local news, The EveryBlock Widget is for you.

You choose one of 16 EveryBlock cities, type in a location, choose the types of content you’d like to see, and we give you HTML code you can copy and paste into your blog or site template.

You can show news at an exact address, a block-radius around an address, a specific neighborhood, or an entire ZIP code. You can tweak it to show just crime, or just crime and building permits, and so on. You can also choose exactly which media sources you’d like to display.

Here’s an example: all of the news near EveryBlock HQ here in the Ravenswood neighborhood of Chicago:

One of the best things we liked about developing this feature is the conversations we’ve had with bloggers, newspapers, and other news outlets to ask them what they’d like to see in a tool like this. For years now, we’ve been heads-down on the tasks of creating our infrastructure, obtaining content, and expanding to new cities.

Until today, we’ve had no official way to share content with other sites or to partner with news outlets in the cities we cover. If you’ve ever thought about partnering with EveryBlock, we’d love to hear from you. E-mail me directly at danx at everyblock or just call 773-321-8146. We’re specifically interested in how to make this widget better and encouraging adoption of it, but we’re wide open to all sorts of partnerships around news. We’d love to hear from you!

We have a few examples of partners who have already added widgets to their sites. The My Ballard blog in Seattle uses an EveryBlock Widget to create Ballard Wire to display all news in the neighborhood for all EveryBlock sources, including up-to-the-minute Fire department 911 dispatches. (Disclosure: MyBallard co-founder Cory Bergman is director of new product development at our parent company, msnbc.com, and works on EveryBlock as well).

The Gapers Block Mechanics political blog shows only “locations in the media” for certain sources near City Hall, so any time a news story contains “121 N. LaSalle”, they’ll have it on their page.

Chicago neighborhood blogs Edgewater Community Buzz and the Sixth Ward blog use the widget to display news in their areas. Chicago Scanner, a site that broadcasts live Chicago police and fire communications, delivers all news in zip code 60629.

We see other uses for the widget as well. They can provide deep context for a block on the real estate sections for major newspaper Web sites, fodder for posts on neighborhood forums, and so on. Most of all, we’re interested in helping people make their block a better place. In order to do we need to hear from people and find out what you need, and we’re excited about it.

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