Mike Shapiro’s TAP Gets New Branding and a Network Strategy

The six-year-old Alternative Press (TAP) network of community news sites in suburban New Jersey and Pennsylvania has a new name — TAPinto.net — and a new look. It also has a new strategy aimed at leveraging content and audience reach across TAPinto’s sites, 32 of which are franchisees…

Could a Hybrid Model Scale Community News and Keep the Passion?

Neither big media nor independent journalistic entrepreneurs have succeeded in finding a scalable model for hyperlocal news and information. So why couldn’t we try a hybrid approach that adopts what’s best about each? It begins with editor-publishers who have a passionate commitment to community, and would be balanced by a scaled business model that will pay attention to cost curves and be open to new revenue opportunities…

‘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)…

Street Fight Daily: Stoppelman Makes a Buck, Local’s Top Ten

A roundup of today’s big stories in hyperlocal content, commerce, and technology.Yelp CEO Takes $1 Salary (CNET)… The World’s Top 10 Most Innovative Companies in Local (TechCrunch)… Why Daily Deals Aren’t All Bad (No, Really)  (PandoDaily)…

How One Hyperlocal Editor and His Site Chased, and Were Chased by, Sandy

When a gigantic “frankenstorm” knocks out the power for your reporters and many other contributors, how can a hyperlocal site keep its coverage online and help its community? Here’s how The Alternative Press, the 19-site, 34-community network in suburban New Jersey, did it last week under the direction of founding editor and publisher Mike Shapiro.

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…

Street Fight Daily: Yelp Featured, Facebook Pulls Location-Aware App

A roundup of today’s big stories in hyperlocal content, commerce, and technology.
Apple To Feature Yelp Check-Ins Within IPhone Maps App (Bloomberg)…

You Won’t Find Friends Nearby Anymore: Facebook Pulls Its Location-Aware Mobile App To Add New Friends (TechCrunch)…
An NJ Hyperlocal Net to Rival Patch, Literally (NetNewsCheck)…

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?

#SFS11 VIDEO: Survive and Thrive as a Standalone Hyperlocal

On the first day of the Street Fight Summit in New York last week, our columnist Tom Grubisich moderated a panel about profitability and strategy featuring three successful hyperlocal entrepreneurs — Baristanet’s Debra Galant, ARL Now’s Scott Brodbeck, and The Alternative Press’ Michael Shapiro…

How Is Citizen Journalism Playing Out Today?

Citizen journalism has propelled hundreds of hyperlocal news sites into existence. In the middle of the last decade, CitJ, particularly at the community level, was the hot topic in new media. Journalism’s thinkers saw it as a necessary and overdue reinvention of news (see Dan Gillmor, Jay Rosen, Jeff Jarvis, among others). So how is it actually playing out today — on the ground? To find out, I asked publishers and editors who have been part of the hyperlocal phenomenon.

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…