My look at some local coverage of the election offers encouraging clues to how good journalism can have a positive impact on the business models for local news. It also implies that the coming Trump era is very likely to accelerate the industry’s transformation.
There are plenty of bad prognostications about the future of the community news business out there. But if you look at what is actually happening company by company, site by site, the view is not universally grim. There are a number of players making serious progress in digital revenue.
Trying to scale community news has many pitfalls. Sites that go for scale can end up publishing glorified “bulletin boards” as they seek to spread budget-limited journalistic resources across multiple communities. The end result can be bottom-fishing remnant CPMs that can be as low as $1. Carll Tucker, CEO of six-year-old Daily Voice, which recently expanded into North Jersey, says its scaling model has produced average CPMs that “hover a few pennies under $8.”
When they met at their recent Chicago convention, independent community publishers and editors talked a lot about what might be called “reve-news.” On everybody’s mind at the Local Independent Online Newspaper (LION) Publishers’ annual meeting was how to monetize news. Even weddings and obituaries can contribute to local news publishers’ bottom line.
TAPinto.net has taken its New Jersey-centered franchise model for community news to adjacent and competitive Westchester and Putnam Counties in New York State’s heavily suburban Lower Hudson Valley. In this Q&A, founder and CEO Mike Shapiro explains how he’s been able to scale his seven-year-old community network through franchising, and do it largely through self-financing.
Like other dailies, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel has taken big hits in advertising and distribution revenue on the print side, but it’s still profitable. To find out how the Journal Sentinel uses quality journalism to stay in the black, Street Fight spoke with editor and senior vice president George Stanley.
The annual Street Fight Summit assembled more than 350 marketers, solutions providers, technologists, and media executives to discuss pressing issues and developments in the connected local economy. Here are five key takeaways from the day’s keynotes, panel discussions, and fireside chats.
“We have about just under 70 full-time salaried editors. Compared to the old Patch, which had a newsroom the size of the New York Times, that may sound small, but when I talk to other digital publishers and I tell them we’ve got 70 full-time salaried reporters in the field, that sounds like a lot to them. Our goal is to add more as we grow. As we get revenue, we put it immediately into expanding because we need to be national to really fully realize Patch’s potential,” said editor-in-chief Warren St. John.
A roundup of today’s big stories in hyperlocal publishing, marketing, commerce, and technology… Jack Dorsey’s Dual CEO Role Raises Questions for Square (New York Times)… Now on Tap, Google’s Mobile Search Trojan Horse, Is Out of the Gate (Recode)… Pinterest Expands Buyable Pins to More Ecommerce Platforms, Reaching Thousands of Merchants (TechCrunch)…
A roundup of today’s big stories in hyperlocal publishing, marketing, commerce, and technology… Uber-Style Surge Pricing May Catch on with Retailers (Forbes)… Why Walgreens Is Partnering with Postmates and Betting Big on Mobile (LinkedIn Pulse)… Kroger Tests ‘Smart Shelf’ Technology (Indianapolis Star)…