In this Q&A, Liena Zagare tells how Bklyner came back from the abyss this year and why, after flipping her business model to rely on her readers for revenue, she’s confident the digital pure-play she founded and edits will stay strong and help maintain Brooklyn as a news oasis.
Revenue was, naturally, very much on the minds of the 12 publishers, broadcasters, and other news media executives who took part in the Local Media Association’s June 2018 San Francisco Innovation Mission. But Jed Williams, LMA’s chief innovation officer, said the event focused on audience engagement.
A year-long study of newsrooms in the U.S. and Europe by two Danish journalists has singled out 16 local providers in the U.S. who are meeting the researchers’ main criterion: structural changes “to forge closer ties and stronger relations to their communities and audiences”—with a special focus on journalism over commerce, technology, and business models.
On accuracy, news organizations across the board have to address more forthrightly the public’s concerns about the truthfulness of what is presented. Those concerns do not appear to be as great as expressed in the Gallup/Knight numbers, which exaggerate a widespread talking point about growing distrust in the news media.
In an under-the-radar move to grow their revenue substantially, local media companies are putting major resources into developing a broad suite of digital marketing services (DMS). Media companies make this pivot as B2Cs rethink their own marketing goals, aiming not just to reach potential consumers but to convert them into paying customers, closing the path to purchase.
We know that local news providers can compete with Facebook for brand advertisers. But what about publishers also capturing SMBs—is that too much of a stretch? Michael Dinan, editor of the profitable local news site New Canaanite in suburban Connecticut, has some answers.
“An interesting thing is that Facebook has been a leader for so long [that] it’s become oversaturated on the buy side, and prices are going way up. There’s an opportunity for other vendors who can provide similarly granular audience information to seize some of that market share,” says Kitewheel CEO Mark Smith.
“Voice is still in its early innings, but Edison Research data on smart speakers shows that the top things people are calling for is news. That’s enough for me to know that the time to get moving on this is right now,” says Amplifi Media CEO Steve Goldstein.
“We made it our mission, working with our publisher at the time, Ken Mauser, that we would reach out to the people of the South Side and make sure they had a place where they could tell us about the good things happening where they live,” Peoria Journal Star Executive Editor Dennis Anderon says of reaching out to neglected community members.
Cost-cutting equity funds have hollowed out scores of daily newspapers, turning their communities into “news deserts,” the critics say. But Kirk Davis, CEO of GateHouse Media, counters that the equity-funded conglomerate is transforming its 144 dailies into tribunes of the people. He makes his case in this Q&A.
“There are no silver bullets,” Mike Orren tells Tom Grubisich. Local news “has always been a complex industry, and advertising, marketing services, managing the print demand—all are going to continue to be a part of the equation.”
American Hometown Publishing details how the company’s brand-new publication Rover—launched two weeks ago in suburban Nashville—aims to present news to its readers as an “enjoyable experience.”
There’s a new nameplate in hyperlocal news publishing, and just about everything about it is boldly different, including the name—Rover. This combination digital daily and print monthly was launched in suburban Nashville last week. In this Q&A, Tom Grubisich talks with one of Rover’s architects, Brad Dennison.
“The biggest challenges for the LMC and the local news industry are concerns around transparency, viewability, and fraud, which produce disconnects between buyer and seller,” says Local Media Consortium Board Chair Chris Loretto.
“The news industry now has to be very much focused on understanding users and delivering to them a very powerful, useful experience so they will be happy to pay for it,” says veteran journalist Bill Densmore.
The established pure-play is now putting together a guide for how other news providers can convince their communities to make the same kind of high-response “impact investment.”
Communities, from activist citizens on up to major civic and other nonprofit institutions, will have to step forward to prevent local news organizations from being gutted by owners without roots in the communities those organizations service.
Report for America addresses the double crisis of holes in local news and local democracy by deploying talented journalists into newsrooms in underserved communities—as it did for the Lexington (Kentucky) Herald-Leader in Martin County.
The biggest heartbreaker is what happens to those families whose long-held newspapers were dedicated to publishing all the news without fear or favor. This is the story of one of those families, the Chiltons, and their paper, the Charleston (W.Va.) Gazette-Mail, which the Chiltons owned for 111 years.