During the past 15 or so years, the local news situation in the United States has been viewed by many both inside the industry and out with increasing despair.
More than 1,800 US newspapers have closed since 2004, according to Poynter. Tens of thousands of journalists have lost their jobs. Dozens of newspapers are now owned by hedge funds that focus on maximising profits.
“I decided I needed to put together the knowledge that I had from a 21-year career at Knight Ridder, and 15 years as an analyst to try to innovate something new in the face of this financial ownership,” Ken Doctor, the Founder and CEO of Lookout Local, told participants during WAN-IFRA’s recent World News Media Congress.
Replacing flagging dailies
“My goal with this, very simply, is to replace flagging dailies as quickly as possible with primary news products. Not supplemental news, but primary news products,” he continued.
“This” is Lookout Local, a digital news company based in Santa Cruz, California, now just over a year old, and according to Doctor, on track for profitability in early 2023.
Lookout has a team of 14 people, which makes it the largest news company in Santa Cruz county, he said.
“Our base is very, very strong at this point,” he added. “We’ve got 95,000+ monthly uniques. We have a diversified revenue model – advertising and circulation.”
“Advertising is huge for us, and it’s all branded content. It works very well,” he added.
As for circulation, Doctor said he delibera...
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