Rocky Mountain News Staffers Start Net Venture

19

Rocky Mountain News staffers whose jobs were axed when the 150 year old paper announced its closure hope to start a new Internet venture, InDenverTimes.com.   If 50,000 people sign up and agree to pay $4.99 per month for access to the subscription-based website by April 23, 2009, the group will move forward with their new website, on a less than ideal domain name.   Unfortunately for them, Boulevards New Media, a Quantcast 360 company founded by Dan Pulcrano, owns Denver.com, the guide to Denver, Colorado.

This news also comes on the day the Seattle Post Intelligencer announced that they will no longer have a print edition of their daily paper, instead opting for an online newspaper.   Unfortunately for the Post Intelligencer, spelling their name is a real pain in the ass.   Incidentally, Boulevards New Media also happens to own Seattle.com, which is the guide to Seattle, Washington.

Media General’s purchase of Richmond.com is looking smarter and smarter each day, and Dan Pulcrano’s acquisition of some of the best city .com Internet properties makes him the biggest winner as the “old media” companies finally come to the same conclusion as Dan and his company… about 15 years too late.

19 COMMENTS

  1. Rob,
    You’ve always been a visionary. And my glasses say that things are about to make your investments pay off very soon.
    Dan

  2. I’ll be shocked if they get 50k actual PAID subs … which is a far cry from getting 50k people who SAY they’ll pay $4.99/mo (and even then … for how long?).

    Not that Dan needs such advice from anyone … but this might be a opportunity to pick up some superb reporters at very affordable rates.

  3. Too bad these folded newspaper don’t have the money to buy city domains, better for the domain owners to develop the sites themselves.

    Don’t think the Denver group will be able to get 50k subscriptions in a month, why when people can get the info online. Have they factored in advertiser revenue from their possible website?

    I think a lot of these reporters and staffers from folded newspapers will just end up doing the same thing but online for someone else. As an aside, a local newspaper in a nearby town of about 10k people just folded, cited the internet and economy as reasons.

    Where will all the businesses who were advertising in these folded newspapers go now – lol.

  4. I’ve always believed geodomains are the logical home for the next generation of local media outlets. It is tough to beat brands like Seattle.com and Denver.com. Dan’s portfolio is practically priceless given where things are headed now.

  5. Agree.

    Especially when the Seattle paper’s domain is SeattlePI.com.

    Right.

    I’m sure they are drooling over Seattle.com.

    Question is do they have the money to buy it?

  6. I hope they’re not stuck on that name InDenverTimes.com… :/ I’ve sent them some names I have that they can borrow, but I’d be _real_ surprised if they can make those subscriptions numbers… I hope the previous staff are all out setting up their own blogs just in case…

  7. @Jason wrote: “I hope the previous staff are all out setting up their own blogs just in case…”

    This is in fact the way I think these diesplaced reporters and photographers from traditional media need to go. Rather than try to compete in the oversaturated and expensive to operate in category of general news, they should either individually or in small groups find special niches they are passionate about and become the authority site in that niche. Professional journalists could easily dominate underservered niches.

    A small number of direct advertisers can earn the individual or a small group of partners a nice living if they do that. Far better than starving as part of a large group fruitlessly trying to do something in general news that other, better capitalized companies can easily do better. It only costs a few bucks for a domain name and hosting account and they have their own business with no one else to answer to. I think it is a no brainer for people with their skill sets but it hasn’t dawned on most of them yet.

    • @Ron – We all have an entrepreneurial mentality, and many other people don’t. Some people feel the need to work for a guaranteed paycheck, regardless of what they are doing. Setting up a blog might be good for the top 3-4 journalists that are known by thousands, but for some of the younger people or lesser known people, it might be difficult to make it profitable right away.

      IMO, I would imagine Denver.com working with a few of the journalists on a full-time or freelance basis could be win/win.

  8. To dominate a niche you don’t need to be known by thousands – you just need to be a professional who can cover that niche better than anyone else. There are many commercial niches where there is no professional coverage now. A professional reporter-photographer team could slay most operators in currently underserved niches. I personally wouldn’t use a blog format as a start up today as I think the format is overdone now – I think the online magazine format is more eye appealing so stands out from the crowd more, plus has the advantage of being a fornat traditional advertisers are already familiar with.

    There are very few businesses that are profitable right away, so it is true that if they have no capital to live on while they build it up they would need to do it in their spare time while earning a paycheck somewhere else. It could wind up being their ticket to freedom but you are quite right that many just have no interest in being their own boss.

  9. Big tides are supposed to lift all boats so in of this this are there better prospects for city/geo names in extensions like .info and .us or does the story ends with names like Denver.com and Seattle.com?

  10. Man these people sound like dinosaurs, who is going to pay for access to a site that doesn’t even exist, an even worse idea than printing the newspaper!

  11. Dan may need to give us all some schooling on how to run a newspaper onine…at least a crash course to get us started. He understands the bridge rom old media to online. See Ron’s great article -http://www.dnjournal.com/cover/2008/february.htm
    So, when is the class sign-up???

  12. These guys can’t find another job out there? Well with all these great awards why not?
    The RMN has been a one sided company all along, When they stood by and let there staff be kicked on national TV I lost all hope for them, what a lame company, I am not surprise they folded, no leadership big heads and amature photogs. go figure.

Leave a Reply