The NYTimes.com’s latest community news site is centered in the East Village, a few miles downtown from its own midtown headquarters. The East Village site will be part of The Local, the hyperlocal project it started last year. The project will be run by New York University’s journalism faculty and students through its Arthur L. Carter Journalism Institute. The collaboration is similar to the one the NYT has with Buzzmachine’s Jeff Jarvis through his citizen journalism initiative at The City University of New York. CUNY has been involved with The Local since its inception and it was recently handed oversight for two Brooklyn sites. The East Village outpost is expected to launch in the fall with NYT reporter Richard Jones serving as the site’s editor.
Right now, The Local has five sites spread across New York and New Jersey. In addition to these handful of sites, the NYT’s has been adding a local print presence in cites like San Francisco and Chicago to retain or boost circulation. For the moment at least, the SF and Chicago print editions are mainly concentrating on building up circulation revenue for the NYT; they are paired with online microsites.
But when it comes to online, there is a stepped-up focus on driving more ad revenue, though initiatives on that front remain in the nascent stage.
Like many newspapers, as national and other major advertisers have cut back spending, publishers are turning to local ads as a heretofore untapped resource. But as recent forecasts from researchers like BIA/Kelsey and Borrell Associates have shown, the online marketplace still has room to growth. Conversely, the effects of the economy have hampered much of expected gains as many publishers have suddenly turned their attention to local online ad sales.
Nevertheless, the NYTimes.com should be able to see some incremental benefits from the additional ad sources as it continues to rollout more community sites. By next year, the blogs, including The Local sites, will fall under the meter system, NYTCo (NYSE: NYT) executives told an audience at our paidContent 2010 conference on Friday. One of the challenges the company has right now is building up enough interest from readers and advertisers before the meter starts running, as some could be turned off by having to pay for access to articles. Release