The Struggle to Save Local News Is Not Doomed

The current state of local news in the technology-driven information age continues to be a hotly debated topic in industry circles. There’s more consensus around the grim prospects for local print media, and more debate about the outlook for independent local news sites. Understanding where the future lies for local news requires a thorough parsing of both positions.

A Deeper Look at ‘Michele’s List’ of Independent Local News Sites Reveals a Gloomier Picture

After taking a second, closer look at “Michele’s List,” I’m more worried about independent community news sites. I was surprised to see that more than half of them generate only $50,000 or less in revenue, hardly enough to run a “Ramen-noodle”-type operation.

7 Ways Local News Sites Can Grow Their Digital Audiences

“Creating a ‘sticky’ hyperlocal news site is certainly something that publishers need to work toward,” says Bryan Marovich, publisher of the Newport Dispatch. Here are seven strategies that hyperlocal publications are using to make their websites sticker, in the hopes of attracting and retaining a larger base of readers…

ARLnow Flips Bethesda Site, Expands Big Into Center of D.C.

The independent community news network that has been busy expanding in the shadow of the Washington Post – has just executed some eye-grabbing moves. It 1.) sold its Bethesda Now site in suburban Maryland, 2.) bought a dormant three-neighborhood site in the District of Columbia and 3,) will resurrect and expand its acquisition…

Community Publishers Mixed on Borrell Prescription for Content

Gordon Borrell minced no words in Street Fight recently when he talked about content and audience in the revenue-hot digital space that his new annual local media report pinpoints. He said: “It’s so much not about readers. It’s so much more about consumers. So those folks who are trying to develop hyperlocal sites around good […]

How to Get to 5 Years of Success in Hyperlocal Publishing

This month Scott Brodbeck is celebrating the fifth anniversary of ARLnow, which has expanded into a mini-network of four sites in metro Washington D.C. We caught up with Brodbeck recently to see how he’s made a journalistic and business success out of community news and where ARLnow is headed in 2015…

ARLnow Expands to Third Community in Metro D.C. – Reston, Va.

Independent hyperlocal publisher Scott Brodbeck has launched a third digital news publication in the suburbs of metro Washington, D.C. His new RestonNow serves a thriving, nationally recognized planned community that was built from scratch on farmland in Northern Virginia’s Fairfax County…

How ARLNow Succeeds in a Market Packed With Competitors

“Print media types may hear ‘quality’ and think ‘in-depth, investigative reporting’ — but that’s not necessarily what I mean,” says ARLNow founder Scott Brodbeck. “At the moment, I believe that breadth is more important than depth in local. But too much or too little of each can hurt. Striking a good balance in terms of shorter and longer articles, and publishing those articles at semi-regular intervals throughout the day, encourages repeat readership.”

Hyperlocal Sustainability (Round 2): Upbeat ‘Indies’ Say They’re Winning

Following up on my column from last week, here are more unvarnished thoughts from “indie” hyperlocal editors and publishers I’ve been talking to about sustainability (a word, by the way, that sets the teeth of some of these entrepreneurial journalists on edge)…

‘Indie’ Hyperlocal ARLNow Replicates With New Outlets in Suburban D.C.

Founder Scott Brodbeck is expanding his “indie” site from Arlington, Va., adding the affluent, mostly white suburb of Bethesda, as well as adjacent and demographically similar communities in Maryland’s Montgomery County. Street Fight spoke with Brodbeck how and why he was expanding his site’s footprint, and what other indie hyperlocal publishers should think about when the look to grow beyond their initial towns…

6 Ways to Encourage User Contributions on Hyperlocal Sites

Encouraging readers to comment on stories, share news tips, and contribute content involves more than adding a commenting widget or slapping a “Tips” button on the header of a site. Here are six tips from successful publishers and editors about how independent publications can solicit feedback from their readers online…

What Independent Hyperlocals Need for the Long Haul

The surging growth of hyperlocal news—today there are more than 3,000 sites in operation and hundreds more in various stages of formation—is being driven by independents. The media disrupters are the people who have the passion and gumption to develop and run their sites with financing from their own personal credit cards.

I’m thinking of entrepreneurs like Debbie Galant, who with $3,000 co-founded  Baristanet in the crowded media market of northern New Jersey in 2004,  expanding it to seven communities. And Scott Brodbeck who, while he was completing a master’s program, started ARLNow in  Arlington, Va., in suburban Washington D.C.

Why Hyperlocal News Is Better Than Ever

Add everything up, and you have a steadily growing number of sites that are innovating to find and produce quality news covering a myriad of topics.  This added-value news is reaching and engaging more people, thanks principally to the giant leaps by social media. The best hyperlocals are becoming the X factor in the civic renaissance that communities need to emerge stronger from their trying economic times…

Arlington Hyperlocal Picks Its Own Patch, Turns a Profit

Scott Brodbeck, the editor of hyperlocal ARLnow.com (Arlington, Va.), which is part of the “authentically local” movement, claims he has a steady thrum of profitable traffic, and an empathy-bordering-on-sympathy for his competition (read: Patch). I thought it would be worthwhile to dig into this apparent and positive anomaly…