Blogs morphing into freesheets. And vice versa

Interesting development.

The Printed Blog, a Chicago start-up, plans to reprint blog posts on regular paper, surrounded by local ads, and distribute the publications free in big cities.

The first issues of this Internet-era penny-saver will appear in Chicago and San Francisco on Tuesday. They will start as weeklies, but Joshua Karp, the founder and publisher, hopes eventually to publish free neighborhood editions of The Printed Blog twice a day in many cities around the country.

How does it work?

The Printed Blog will publish blog posts alongside other Weblike content, like user-submitted photographs and readers’ comments. The paper will be printed on three or four 11-by-17-inch sheets of white paper and laid out like a blog instead of in columns.

Users will eventually be able to log on to its site,, to choose which blogs they want in their edition, and editors will decide which posts make the paper. A city the size of Chicago could have 50 separate editions tailored to individual neighborhoods.

The Printed Blog also expects to duck many of the major costs that make traditional newspapers expensive to produce. The company will put commercial printers in the homes of its distributors, avoiding the circulation costs of papers with large, central printing presses. Advertisers will eventually be able to buy ads on the Web site, so The Printed Blog will not need to employ many sales people.

By publishing articles written by bloggers who are already diligently covering topics as varied as town politics and local fashion, Mr. Karp can slash one of the biggest expenses of a newspaper: reporters. So far, 300 bloggers have given The Printed Blog permission to publish their work for a share of the ad revenue, including small-audience bloggers in Chicago and nationally known blogs like Daily Kos.