Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Former alt weekly editor and former metro daily reporter launch local community news site for San Antonio

This morning saw the launch of another new local news site created by former editors and reporters of corporate news organizations.
Plaza de Armas is the creation of Elaine Wolff, a former editor at the alternative newsweekly the San Antonio Current, and Greg Jefferson, a former political reporter for the San Antonio Express-News. With them are Gilbert Garcia, another former San Antonio Express-News writer, and Sarah Fisch, a former San Antonio Current writer and editor.

The attractively built website launched this morning and the metro daily, the Hearst owned metro daily was nice enough to write about it. (Disclosure: I am a former employee of the Hearst owned Los Angeles Herald Examiner.)
Access to the full content of the web-only news site will cost readers $5.99 a month or $60 annually. The subscription is considered a "membership". Content will focus on city politics, business and culture, according to the website.

Readers of TNM may already know that I have serious doubts about the business model behind journalist run news sites without advertising -- but then again I am a former publisher and ad director (as well as journalist), so what would you expect. I actually like ad sales people, it's a fetish, I suppose.

But in order to sustain a local news site at $60 a year, a site would obviously have to attract a lot of paid customers. Therefore, I prefer a mixed model. You see what holds true for local readers I believe also holds true for local businesses -- they are underserved by their metro dailies. (More on this later.)

I see, though, that the new website's Facebook page already shows that 412 people have "liked" the idea so maybe I will be pleasantly surprised by the ultimate success of (In the meantime, congrats on the launch.)