Media Moves

Two newspaper launches in digital format mark milestones

September 30, 2020

Posted by Mariam Ahmed

Two full-scale newspaper launches, The Daily Memphian in Tennessee and analyst Ken Doctor’s Lookout Local in Santa Cruz, California have achieved major milestones, reports Poynter.

The Daily Memphian has celebrated its second birthday while Lookout Local has appointed high-profile executive editor Chris Fusco. Eric Barnes, founder and CEO of The Daily Memphian structured a fact sheet of the past two years:

  • The Daily Memphian has 13,900 paid digital subscribers paying an average of $9.25 a month
  • Its newsroom staff, 25 at launch in fall 2018, has grown to 35 with an additional 20 regular freelancers. They post roughly 20 stories a day
  • Besides avoiding deep discount introductory rates, the site is minimizing churn, losing only 10% of subscribers after six months
  • It has launched 20 newsletters and captured 45,000 email addresses, the standard strategy these days for courting users who may eventually subscribe

The newspaper is also on track for its five-year goal of 25,000 paid subscribers and breaking even.

Doctor, like Barnes, decided not to launch before careful planning and hiring a well-paid staff of 17 or so. If it’s a success in Santa Cruz, Doctor hopes to have a replicable model for digital-only news startups that would work in other communities.

As of now, Lookout Local has raised $2.5 million in foundation grants to get started and Doctor counts The Daily Memphian as one of his models.

“We thought it would be presumptuous for a new local news company to begin publishing just before the election, so we are opting for soon after and pointing to a robust 2021,” Doctor said.

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