As the reporting staffs of local newspapers shrink, the subjects they cover also decreases. As a result, most local news publishers only report on major business stories, leaving readers relying on gossip and unverified information from social networks. We built the Santa Barbara Business Journal to help everyone from Carpinteria to Goleta stay informed about what is happening in all types of businesses in the area, both large and small.
We believe the business model for local news must change, and must rely more on revenue from readers. This means the site must be designed to deliver news, not ads from a third party network that disrupt reading the news. It also means we can’t give away news for free, although we do not have to charge a lot to report on what companies are doing here on the South Coast.
In addition to subscriptions to the website (a bargain at $2.99 per month or $29.99 per year), we will let non-subscribers pay for individual articles, using the Transact payment system. We also offer subscriptions to individual sections of the site (like real estate or retail news) for a lower price, if that is all you are interested in (but we think you should get all of the news, because everything is connected, from tech startups to restaurants owned by local families for decades).
Our business model replaces advertisers with sponsors. Technically, sponsors can be considered advertisers, but the goal is to get businesses who want to reach our readers to value being associated with the publisher. The sponsor spots are simple and designed to not distract the reader from the news, or motivate them to leave the news site. You won’t have to wait for a web page to be re-loaded while it gets ads from a server on the other side of the country, nor will you ever have to watch a video ad. Our primary design goal is to maximize customer satisfaction, and since readers have to pay, they are definitely the customer.
Another important aspect of this model is choosing content that people are willing to pay for. Local publishers today have an advantage in that there aren’t many professionally reported sources of local news. People do want to know what is happening in their communities, and they will pay for that news if it isn’t too expensive (it doesn’t have to be). People also need to be kept informed about what local businesses are doing, and how governments are affecting them.
Please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions.
News Plexus was created to use and promote a new business model for local news. Local newspapers have been eviscerated over the last decade, as their websites have become ad delivery networks, with far less news than they used to provide. The Santa Barbara Business Journal is the first of what we hope will be many local news sites whose top priority is to keep everyone informed.