How R&D partner and startup Local News Network is rebuilding the local news model


Get to know LMA R&D member Local News Network, providing local news to meet the nationwide need – sustainably.

By Bert Carder • COO of Local News Network

The Poynter Institute recently asked its readers why local journalism is important. Among the dozens of responses, one, in particular, stood out:

“Local public media stations are like public libraries and local museums in that they preserve culture, educate and engage in order to build understanding on important issues that are expensive or difficult to cover.”

According to a recent survey by Pew Research Study, local news is still important to Americans. Nearly half of U.S. adults  — 46 percent — named local news outlets as a major source for COVID-19 news. And yet, the pandemic has put even more financial strain on local news providers.

So, how do we provide local news to meet the nationwide need and run a sustainable business? Local News Network (LNN) is showing that it can be done.

A team of Durango, Colorado-based journalists and entrepreneurs launched a startup to bring back local news to small and suburban towns in a profitable, sustainable way. They created short form, local-interest video news stories and distributed them online (websites, social media, mobile, podcasts, emails, and apps) and on digital displays in high-traffic locations. Along with news, local business video ads are distributed directly into the community.

With low content costs, fixed distribution, and guaranteed exposure for our stories and advertisers, LNN created a sustainably profitable local news model. Besides delivering free local news, the in-town digital display network is an excellent way for businesses to reach locals within 5 miles of their location. And, It keeps advertising dollars circulating locally, which is even more critical to combat the negative economic effects of COVID-19.

The 5 key elements of success:

1. Relevant and important locally-produced programming.

2. Bite-size, short form videos that are widely accepted and easily consumed.

3. Direct-to-consumer distribution all around town: At the bank, the DMV, the airport, favorite restaurants, and stores.

4. Content is available anytime, anywhere, on email, web, mobile devices, apps, and podcasts.

5. Content is free to viewers without paywall barriers.

In April 2019, Local News Network built a digital distribution platform and documented their secret-sauce recipe in preparation for helping hundreds of news affiliates across the country create sustainably profitable local news businesses in their communities. Their expanding network of news affiliates brings additional benefits through shared stories, news resources, and potential sales opportunities.

Now, the Local News Network’s profitable, sustainable platform is available to affiliate partners in small towns and communities. Local journalists, videographers, news publishers, and entrepreneurs with a passion for their community are ideal affiliate partner candidates. Partner affiliates pay a monthly licensing fee for the LNN news distribution and marketing platform. Back office support for sales, billing, and video editing is also available.

If you are interested in learning more about Local News Network, go to www.thelocalnews.us