Poynter and API teamed up this week to take a deeper look at what’s working in local news. Here, you can read how The News Reporter grew a loyal and paying audience online, and over at Better News, learn how the Whiteville, North Carolina, newsroom shifted to digital using essential lessons from Table Stakes.
When The (Whiteville, North Carolina) News Reporter launched a website, “our strategy was to make it just good enough,” said Publisher Les High.
The advertising team didn’t want a site that competed with the print product. And for years, it did not.
High remembers a meeting several years ago when that thinking started to shift, at least for him. A young ad rep looked at his phone and said “All I know is however people get their news, they need to get it from us.”
It took several more years and a change management program, but in the past two years, The News Reporter made a series of changes that led to something so many local newspapers are now attempting – replacing one set of revenue with another.
In two years, the News Reporter:
Went from 48 subscription plans to two. Became a 24/7 newsroom. Saw pageviews double. Switched the days it published print. Increased the cost of single-copy sales. Increased overall circulation revenue by 48%, print circulation revenue by 90% and digital subscription revenue by 493%.
Read more here: https://www.poynter.org/business-work/2019/this-tiny-north-carolina-paper-replaced-the-money-it-lost-in-advertising-with-money-made-in-circulation/