updated 4/19/2007 4:38:39 PM ET 2007-04-19T20:38:39

The Chicago Tribune has launched a community journalism Web site encouraging readers in nine suburbs to post their own articles, photos and blogs.

"This started with the question of how can we make the paper more relevant to readers who continue to live further and further away from the center city," said Ted Biedron, president of the Tribune division that designed the site.

The Web site was announced in Thursday's edition of the newspaper.

Triblocal will have a staff of four journalists, but the majority of the site's content will be written by readers.

Biedron said sites like News Corp.'s MySpace.com have persuaded publishers that there is value in allowing readers to publish their own content.

Triblocal covers Batavia, Geneva, St. Charles, Elburn, Maple Park, Tinley Park, Orland Park, Orland Hills and Homer Glen.

Biedron said the company plans to expand the list of communities.

Anyone who posts on triblocal.com must register, provide a phone number and accept the terms of a user agreement.

The Web site was modeled after YourHub.com, produced by the Denver Rocky Mountain News. John Temple, the newspaper's editor, said some of the content is questionable, but the site adds richer news coverage on local issues.

"It's inevitable that traditional journalists are going to view this as inferior, almost ridiculous," Temple said. "But anything that brings people into the public discussion is potentially valuable."

The paper periodically will publish some of the reader-submitted articles in a special supplement, officials said.

"A lot of it, just like the Web site, will be lightly edited," said spokesman Mike Dizon. "The intention is to keep it true to the writer's voice."

The Tribune is one of 11 newspapers owned by Chicago-based Tribune Co.

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