As large corporate newspapers retreat from local news coverage in favor of cost-cutting to maintain or grow profits, a void has been created in many communities in local news coverage. Who is watching the school board, city council, the courts, or police as traditional newspaper newsrooms are gutted? Because of corporate media’s retreat from our communities, a new kind of business opportunity has opened up in local media. In the Local Internet Online News publishing role, you cover the things closest to the heart of our American democracy, where citizens can really make a difference and you can make a significant impact. But in order to cover local news, you have to have an audience and be able to generate revenue to make it sustainable. This session will cover strategy and specific tactics on how we used Drupal to build a mass appeal local news audience, leverage social media, search, and email to establish ourselves as the proven largest local audience ever assembled in the history in our Texas city of 100,000 people. We have greater than 50 percent market penetration and our audience is larger than all radio stations’, the Gannett newspaper’s, and three broadcast network television stations combined. For content strategy, Drupal lends itself to small but knowledgeable media companies with features that allow us to run circles around our local, yet corporate, competition. We’ll show you our tricks using key Drupal features provided by core and contrib modules to create news stories with impact. Finally, we will briefly discuss strategies and tactics to generate revenue to sustain such an operation, including leveraging programmatic ad revenue, social media professional services, all with contributions from the Drupal CMS. Who should attend this session? Anyone interested in how local media is being transformed with Drupal and how it can be done in your city, town or community.
Joe is currently working on solving the challenges of hyperlocal news reporting and distribution. As former U.S. House Tip O'Neill said in his autobiography, "All politics is local", he sees creating sustainable eco-systems around local news reporting as a critical pillar in the foundation of our democracy. His immediate challenges are twofold: First, it is to dramatically impact San Angelo, Texas with his pilot project, San Angelo LIVE! (sanangelolive.com). Here his 6-person team is honing the tactics and techniques in news gathering, reporting, and audience engagement that are applicable for the modern digital spaces- web, search, mobile, social. At the same time, his company's sales efforts are leading with digital. The revenue generated has to be high enough so that it can prove that digital hyperlocal news content provides significant value to local and national advertisers. Second, his team is seeking established media groups who can benefit by learning our strategy and the tactics that we are developing, and who desire guidance on executing that strategy, to build a sustainable, successful digital component married to a traditional newspaper, radio station, or television station. Joe is a former combat pilot and US Air Force veteran. After that, he founded a large ISP in southwest Texas, sold big Internet and enterprise communications solutions at Verizon Business, managed a sales team at The Dallas Morning News, and started a small Drupal development agency. In 2013, that agency transformed into the current local news medium. Joe was once kicked out of Joel Osteen's church. He was there in person cold calling on their marketing department to sell them advertising. I have been out of the Drupal development world for 4 years working on this local news project. I have spoken at Drupal Camps and meetups in Dallas and Austin from 2010-2013 about subjects such as using Drupal to leverage Facebook, digital advertising, and Drupal SEO.