Gapers Block Founder Andrew Huff Announces Changes to Site

Andrew Huff Photo

Andrew Huff spoke to journalism students at DePaul University. (Photo by Michael Reilley).

By Sean McDonough

Local blogger Andrew Huff visited a DePaul University journalism class Wednesday where he announced coming changes to Gapers Block, a website he co-founded geared towards presenting a hot-bed of Chicago-related news content. Huff also encouraged students to seek journalism opportunities that exist online.

Before revealing changes to his site, Huff spoke to the online journalism class for over an hour wherein the blogging guru underscored the overlooked existence of journalistic opportunities existing on the World Wide Web amid growing concerns of an evaporating profession of print journalism.

Speaking to a crowd of more than 20 DePaul upperclassmen Huff urged, “Find a niche … There are countless topics out there that could be covered by one or two people that aren’t being covered.”

One niche that in the early 2000s Huff realized wasn’t being covered was a Chicago city blog showcasing content relevant to arts, music, literary reviews, politics and many more generic topics of interest. Seeing this void, Huff  and  friend Naz Hamid sat down in a Lakeview coffee shop in 2003 where they created Gapers block – a site that became a spinoff of Huff’s personal blog, that includes all topics of interest listed above, whittled down to those specifically concerned with the greater Chicago area.

Although Huff admits was initially launched as a project, the online magazine (his preferred term for the site) has grown to become an increasingly popular blog within the Chicago community.

The site that started out with just over a dozen employees is now fueled by the work of eight editors and a total staff of over 90.

Huff revealed that plans to improve the already successful site are on the horizon. Such plans include improving his schematically out dated 2003 model as well as relocating his “Slow Down” section from the middle of the web page to the right to make room for a cascading waterfall of headlines.

The objective is to highlight content presently located farther down the page so it doesn’t get lost among the newer posts which appear at the top of Gapers Block.

In addition to Huff’s exposure has also garnered opportunities to work on other projects such as Kenneth Cole’s blog, a travel blog and a paranormal blog for the A & E network as well as many others.

To the students, Huff represents real proof of the possibilities exposure can bring to anyone trying to make a name on the web.