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The Business of Content

Apr 28, 2019

If you’ve been working in local news over the past decade, chances are that your job hasn’t felt very secure. One study estimated that as many 1,800 local newspapers have shut down since 2004, and those that have survived have faced steep budget cuts and layoffs. Hedge funds have been purchasing newspapers, saddling them with debt, and bleeding them dry, while the Facebook/Google duopoly have diverted more and more local advertising toward their own services. Last year, Facebook launched a feature that would allow users to be shown more local news in their Newsfeed, but it recently admitted that one in three U.S. users lived in areas that didn’t produce enough local news for Facebook to curate.

But not all local news operations have struggled. A New Jersey based media company called TAPinto has launched 81 local news sites and is still growing. While most of those sites are located in New Jersey, the company has recently branched out into Pennsylvania, South Carolina, and Florida. I recently interviewed Mike Shapiro, TAPinto’s founder, and asked him about why his model seems to be working. We also discussed other failed local news projects and whether Facebook’s efforts to boost local news are actually working.

To see my previous interview with Shapiro, go here: