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.”
The Boston Globe’s Spotlight investigative team uncovered the pedophile priest scandal in the Catholic Church, but for all the acclaim the reporting won, it didn’t save the paper from a catastrophic financial decline that nearly put the Globe out of business. To understand how such journalistic success could be followed by such financial failure, Street Fight spoke with Dan Kennedy, associate professor in the School of Journalism at Northeastern University, who has written extensively about the subject.
The importance of relevant searches extends beyond search engines. For publishers, custom site search that helps make better decisions about how to maximize the impact of their content, know and understand the likes of their users, and increase their level of engagement can make a material difference in their business. “The key to building a relevant search experience is blending complex signals together and ensuring your site search algorithm is always improving,” said Swiftype co-founder Matt Riley.
Every institution of higher learning has myriad news sources, from official newspapers to social media platforms. Some college publications have ambitions and appeal that transcend the campus boundaries. One such example is The Student Body, which emerged from a class at the University of Florida’s College of Journalism and Communications in Gainesville and now aims to reach a national audience.
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.
What’s on the mind of technology and marketing suppliers targeting the connected local economy? They’re keen on mobile — perhaps too keen — but struggling with their own companies’ brand awareness. The dichotomy between small businesses and national chains that sell locally is profound, and presents difficult challenges in scaling to support either, let alone both, according to Street Fight Insights analysis.
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.
In less than six months, the newly constituted Journal Media Group did a 180-degree about-face, shifting from a strategy focused on acquisitions to being acquired by Gannett. The USA Today publisher brought two things that JMG couldn’t match: The proven ability to consistently wring substantial cost savings out of expansion and a digital ad strategy that holds the promise of making everybody — advertisers, audiences, and stockholders — happy.
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.
Under president Mark E. Aldam, Hearst Newspapers is going full bore on digital, creating in-house digital marketing services and betting big on programmatic advertising. In our interview, Aldam explains how Hearst has become a top performer in the still financially challenged newspaper industry.
Preliminary results from our forthcoming executive survey suggest that industry players are investing the most in mobile, followed by data and analytics. Respondents indicated that mobile marketing and managing company websites were the biggest challenges for local merchants, along with SEO and listings management. More complete survey results will be revealed at our upcoming Street Fight Summit in New York City.
Joe Hyde, founder and publisher of San Angelo Live, is seeing his independent community news site in West Texas hit $60,000 in monthly ad revenue. And on its second anniversary, the site continues to attract more unique visitors than the site of its 131-year-old “legacy” competitor.
Digital media vet Chris Jennewein left Patch after the Aol sale, and returned to San Diego to launch the independent Times of San Diego. He is now a direct competitor to the Union-Tribune, and has started a twin regional site called MyNewsLa.com.
According to the report from Netsertive and Borrell Associates, 38 percent of local businesses cited “too much paperwork” as the greatest barrier to co-op marketing, and another 38 percent cited “too many rules.”
The Local Media Consortium is working to turn “digital dimes” back into the dollars. To see how the group is progressing, we recently spoke with Tobias Bennett, LMC’s “programmatic advertising champion.”
Pushed to near death two-and-a-half years ago by heavy losses, regional community news network Daily Voice has resurrected itself, expanding in suburban Connecticut and New York State — and now the network is about to cross the Hudson River into northern New Jersey.
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.