Hello, fellow Chicagoans! I’d like to introduce you to our new app, Happenstance, that blends Chicago-based journalism and geolocation technology.
Happenstance has been in the making for more than a year and aims to educate Chicago residents – whether you’re fresh to the city or a lifelong learner – about aspects you might not know about the city. And it’s all done in an entertaining way!
We offer unique stories about Chicago’s food, arts, landmarks and sports, and they’re told by the folks who know these subjects best. We like to call them the “everyday experts,” people who are great at what they do but not always highlighted.
To experience our Happenstance stories, also known as Haps, you just need to slip on a pair of headphones. Haps are geotagged to various places around the city and are fairly short, only 30 seconds to roughly two minutes long. So, you don’t need to go out of your way to use our app. We want to build ourselves in to your normal routine!
How does it work? When you’re near a location that has a Hap, we’ll send you a notification about it. The fun part? You won’t know when we’ll ping you! It’ll be spontaneous! You can then swipe to listen and explore other Haps, if you’re so inclined!
We know you might not be interested in every topic we offer. That’s why we give you the option to choose your favorites. And your experience will become more and more tailored the more you use the app.
Now, pairing journalism and geolocation technology is not an entirely new concept. Some examples are the Bloom platform, which allows readers to search for news publishers’ geotagged content. And then there’s Flying Content, which aims to help newsrooms better target breaking news coverage for affected people, among other things.
You might now be wondering what makes us qualified to deliver the city’s lesser-known stories to you. Together, we have four journalism degrees, including Master’s from Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism, and reported and written for various outlets. So, we understand what it takes to tell a compelling story.
I’m also a Chicago native, and my partner, Jasmine, has several years of experience in this Windy City. In short, we’re able to sniff past the common tourist facts and dig deeper.
If you ever have any issues with your Happenstance experience, don’t hesitate to let us know! We strive to keep user-friendliness at the forefront.
So, let us be the soundtrack to your city. We’re beyond excited to start this journey with you all! We hope you’re ready to hear something new!
Your managing editor,