Ricardo Bilton of Nieman Journalism Lab writes about the success of Seattle-based tech news site GeekWire.
Bilton writes, “Launched in 2011, the site’s growth has been inextricably linked to Amazon’s own exponential trajectory over the past decade. As the company has grown, so, too, has popular interest in Seattle as a tech hub. Google, Facebook, Dropbox, and Salesforce have all opened offices in the city over the past few years, joining natives such as Microsoft, T-Mobile, and Expedia.
“GeekWire co-founder John Cook says the site has tied its model to Seattle’s rising profile, which has helped it differentiate itself from other publications in a crowded tech media space dominated by sites run out of New York City and San Francisco. ‘We felt that we could create an interesting niche by being a national tech publication that has Seattle roots and DNA. We’re really differentiated by our geography and how we see the world,’ he said. ‘This stuff is right in our backyard.’
“While GeekWire’s location has given it broader appeal, its local focus is also core to its strategy. Seattle real estate developments (‘Majority of new homes in Seattle are ‘Built Green’ for the first time, thanks to city incentives‘), startups (‘Seattle startup Downticket helps voters follow elections and support candidates with an app‘), and civic innovation projects (‘Lyft expanding Seattle presence with new office lease as it battles ride-hailing rival Uber‘) are all core coverage areas for the site.
“But Cook said that the ambition for GeekWire was always to make the site more than just a news source for readers —
a self-imposed limitation that he argued has helped lead to the decline of legacy news organizations.”
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