I love local media. It’s hard, and it’s a great problem-solving exercise. Constrained by market size, daily pressures for content and revenue creation – its biggest constraints are time and resources. So how does a local publisher tackle the next big revenue opportunity?

Guy Tasaka presents at Borrell Miami 2022.

At last week’s Borrell Local Advertising Conference in Miami, we introduced Local Media Association’s newly created Technology Resource Center as a way to help local publishers. Announced late last year and funded by Google News Initiative, its primary mission is to serve as a technology resource that helps small and mid-sized publishers, publishers of color, and pure plays that provide local news to their communities. Local media publishers may use the center to assist with tactical questions, technology assessments and evaluation as well as strategic questions.

Beyond being a technology resource for answering industry questions, the TRC’s goal is to help the industry identify and execute sustainable business models. Through its “glass house” projects, TRC will showcase end-to-end new revenue opportunities showing business models, recipes, and detailed instructions to create these new programs.

Our goal will be to “open source” new opportunities so publishers may look at multiple ideas and select what will work best for their markets and resources. TRC will also be there to assist with professional services options for publishers who require additional technology and training assistance.

First glass house project: Digital news dailies

We polled a subset of the LMA Digital Club and asked for topics of interest for our technology showcase and glass house project candidates. Based on feedback from club members, we will begin working on our first project.

Digital news dailies: If this is a foreign term, imagine an e-edition or digital edition reinvented using 2022 technology. Now think about the knowledge we’ve gained from user acquisition of website and newsletters subscribers. Layer on ad targeting using first-party data and audience and advertiser attribution. Lastly, think about what we could do if we preserved the print advertising pricing model and eliminated print and distribution expenses.

You may be thinking, “How is this not an e-edition?” Consider that an e-edition is primarily a vehicle for newspaper readers, hence the look and feel of the newspaper. We will be designing a news product from the ground up for the non-newspaper reader. We will also be respecting the workflow constraints of a traditional newsroom as well as a digital-only newsroom.

This example of The New York Times architecting a reading experience that is 8.5”x11” and optimized, which works perfectly in the tablet world. It is a well-kept secret that is 30-plus years old.

We will build this project over the next few months and open the financial models and recipe to any publisher who would like to use the model. Stay tuned.

Guy Tasaka

Office hours with the Technology Resource Center are available today. Please send your questions, inquiries, and problems to be solved to guy.tasaka@localmedia.org. I’ll respond to your questions and schedule any follow up discussions. The Technology Resource Center website will launch in April.