From a technical standpoint, my generation of City People has a significantly easier time producing print issues than our predecessors did, assembling our issues with trackpads and keyboard commands while they used knives and paste. In the paper’s nascent days, when it was still produced in Baltimore, the staff sent pages and materials back and forth on a massive fax machine. That was an improvement, former publisher Amy Austin says, over the previous method: On Monday nights, she used to deliver the necessary files to the Greyhound bus station, where they would be ferried north.
Washington City Paper is your source for local news. Since 1981, our journalism and events have connected D.C. natives and newcomers to the District and to each other. With the support of our members, we’re exploring the city we all love—investigating corruption and exposing wrongdoing, analyzing the District’s biggest issues, holding elected officials accountable, and at the same time shining a light on our rich food, arts, and sports scenes with award-winning design and photography.
The article is a summary of a research paper. To sum it up in a sentence: When papers are sold to corporate owners, the number of local articles can fall by 68%.
1. Acquisition leads to a significant, but not disproportional, decrease in the volume of local content produced by local newspapers;
2. Coverage of local places in the periods following acquisition is significantly more concentrated than coverage in the periods prior to acquisition;
3. Articles produced to be shared across regional hubs of newspapers are significantly less local—and discursively more national—than articles unique to a given newspaper.
This is the reason that we feature so many exciting new WordPress-based publishers on this site. Almost all of them are locally owned and operated. WordPress publishers are filling the gap left by old newspapers that are falling under corporate ownership.
Quartz is a WordPress publisher that is taking down their paywall. They’ve been going 10 years now and have gone through a few different business models. It looks like they’re moving to selling ads and also premium newsletters.
They now send out two premium newsletters per week and the cost is around $7 to $10 per month. Their pitch is “Our member-only newsletters give you concise analysis, forecasts, profiles, and advice in your inbox throughout the week”.
These are the two newsletters:
The Weekend Brief—offering analysis and insights on one big news item of the week, plus the best of Quartz.
The Forecast—a look at emerging industries and trends around the corner.
I got talking to a publisher in California this week: Moonshine Ink in California. They have been publishing for over 20 years. They’re currently WordPress-based, with a print edition. We chatted because they use the PublishPress Authors plugin that our team develop.
What particularly stood out to me with Moonshine Ink was the wonderful job they do of explaining of why their local news is worth supporting.
“Moonshine Ink serves the Truckee/North Tahoe region, a place of unimaginable beauty and inconceivably complex government. In our coverage area, there are two states, five counties (more or less), 19 special districts, and special cases, like the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency. It’s a jurisdictional quagmire. Over the years, we’ve been the only media to “poke the bear” and investigate local government to the point where we really pissed people off. In my mind, this is a good thing.
If you’re in the New York area, you may have heard of Schneps Media or at least you’ve seen their publications.
Schneps run dozens of local newspapers and they’re standardized their digital versions on WordPress. Their sites focus on specific areas and communities in New York. They cover local neighborhood news, Spanish-language groups, LGBQT issues, Caribbean community, and now sports. Here’s the full list of papers.
A typical example site in the network is The Queens Courier. To run the network, they appear to have a custom plugin installed to allow them to publish centrally to all those sites via the WordPress REST API.