Gee, local news sites attract readers, but not advertisers …

It’s an old story:

Tim Regan was searching through public documents on the District’s Alcoholic Beverage Regulation Administration’s website for an interesting story. Every now and then, between mundane applications for liquor-license renewals and endless noise complaints, he would stumble upon a story he knew loyal Borderstan readers would relish.

During the story hunt in June, Regan struck what could only be considered local news gold. He determined that a popular Adams Morgan bar, Madam’s Organ, was fined $500 after a band’s drummer briefly cracked opened a window to air out a fetid fart. Regan, 29, wrote the story, attracting thousands of readers to Borderstan, and publications across the country wrote their own stories on the flatulence mishap.

As co-editor of the neighborhood news website, Regan sat through long-winded neighborhood and zoning meetings each week, sifted through insomnia-curing local records and walked the city’s streets looking for store closings and other news tidbits. Despite its successes, Borderstan’s publisher announced that the site wasn’t financially viable and shuttered it Dec. 23, leaving a neighborhood-level news void in some of the city’s fastest-growing areas.

“Local advertisers didn’t really flock to the site like readers did,” Regan said. “Our readership is growing, but everything costs money, and that includes running a local news website.”

Well, I would suggest NOT building your newssite on a business model that revolves around advertising, but one based on donations and subscriptions.

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