TAPinto Grows to 57 News Franchises, Eyes National Reach

The New Jersey-based local news network has used a franchise model to expand into dozens of suburban communities. In this Q & A, CEO Mike Shapiro talks about how TAPinto continues to grow in a hotly competitive market for community news.

Franchises Make Scale Profitable for TAPinto.net’s Two-State Network

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.

Will 2015 Be Breakthrough Year for Community News?

We saw some promising signs of local news sites getting their mojo in 2014. But is it a lasting, growing trend? To get a peek over the horizon, we went to top experts in community news — publishers, editors and others who are involved in producing, analyzing and critiquing it…

‘Understanding the Reader’ and the Bottom Line: Do They Connect?

Google’s beta testing of aggregated community news for its recently launched smartphone app Now (“the right information at just the right time”) got some big “hmmm” headlines last week. But is this Google experiment bringing any fear and trembling to community news and information sites?

How to Scale Local and Stay Entrepreneurial

The Alternative Press, which quickly grew to 15 sites in suburban New Jersey (three wholly owned and the rest licensees), is now hoping to replicate that success by growing into a network of 100-plus sites. That’s almost twice as big as the footprint of corporate pure play Daily Voice and in the same league as networks operated by the Chicago Tribune (TribLocal) and Denver Post (YourHub)…

New Jersey Hyperlocal Network TAP Celebrates 4 Years, Continues to Expand

Former lawyer Mike Shapiro’s The Alternative Press has now grown to 18 separate hyperlocal publications, including licensees, and is preparing for another major expansion. How does Shapiro do what some news industry experts have said is next to impossible for independent community sites like his? Street Fight caught up with him recently to find out…

NJ’s TAP Grows Indie Hyperlocal Network Through Licensing

Under the licensing program, participants pay a $2,500 fee in their first year, $5,000 in year two and $10,000 in year three, plus 10% of their ad revenue. Alternative Press publisher Mike Shapiro says a licensee, “after the three-year ramp up, should bring in $50,000 to $100,000 in income (after expenses have been taken out for licensing fees, freelance, ad commissions, marketing etc.).”

Can Long-Tail E-Books Give New Life to Old News?

Hyperlocal news sites often publish revealing stories about what makes their communities tick or that capture the uniqueness of their character. Can those stories – which routinely disappear into archives – find new life as e-books?