Local Journalism made in Washington, D.C. brought to You by TBD
August 8, 2010 13 Comments
It’s going to be a big week for Jim Brady and his new gig, TBD, as the company gearing up to make their big launch in an already super crowded media space this week. The company has been in development for almost nine months, is being financed by Allbritton Communications, which also owns the online political site Politico.
Like Journal Register, TBD is a hyper-local and community-oriented News site built from network of local bloggers to create an online journalism. TBD’s content will be from their own staff and a network of 150 bloggers covering the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area. The blog’s content will appear alongside news and opinion postings from TBD staff .
The Journal Register’s content will be from bloggers of Philadelphia, Michigan, Connecticut and New Jersey. They have been aggressively launching new-media related ventures including a community journalism lab aimed at training local bloggers.
From the limited information I have learned about both companies, it seems to me both company’s models are about empowering the many independent bloggers who are providing coverage of the communities the traditional papers serve. I think That’s how they will supplement their own staff coverage.
TBD has already established a strategic partnership with GrowthSpur who will be working with the bloggers to help them sell advertising on their blogs, both by training them in ad sales and by aggregating them into an ad network that can carry advertising across all of the blogs in the group.
I did a little bit research on the local journalism-based blog networks business model and found out the model has already been tried in the past, but not many could make a solid business model out of it. Backfence.com was one of them, but it looks like they shut down in 2007. Not quite sure why.
I assume the TBD team is fully aware of Backfence failure, more importantly has incorporated some lesson learned from these previous attempts.
The other company TBD should watch out for is AOL’s baby, Patch.com, which I have been covering since AOLers became Googlers earlier this year. Patch has already been kicking ass and taking names by expanding into a number of U.S. markets with $50 million in funding from AOL.
Finally, let’s not forget about the 800 pound guerrillas like Brady’s previous company, The Washington Post, which has also built a large network of bloggers to achieve the same goal. Not quite sure how they have been doing though.
Whether such new business model makes it big, beats me. I am not an expert on this. As a Washingtonian, let’s hope at least TBD makes a sustainable new business in our region. Not to mention Jim has been really helpful to me ever since I met the dude :-).
Washington,D.C. region is in desperate need for another great business success story . Last time we had one of those, was in 1998 when the startup networking company, Yurie Systems acquired by Lucent for $1.23 B with the revenue of only $53 m – over 23x. I happened to be one of the early employees with decent options (employee number 8 🙂 ).