August 27, 2021
Welcome to the NewStart Alliance, everyone!
No, not THAT new "alliance" involving college football conferences across the country. (But if anyone can give me some inside info on where WVU will land in a year or two, I'd appreciate it.)
Our Alliance deals with local news, not billion dollar TV deals or Name, Image, and Likeness battles. It's why you signed up for this newsletter. And we're glad you're here.
I don't have a big feature for you this week, as this has been the first full week of my in-person undergrad classes in Morgantown, and I'm still adjusting to our new "normal" of teaching in masks, filling out seating charts, taking attendance and remembering how to plan and conduct classes in person again. It's a weird feeling, no doubt. But I'm glad to be with students in "real life" instead of Zoom, even if I can't see the smiles on their mask-covered faces when I crack my witty jokes.
Well, I'm just going to pretend they're all smiling and laughing at my jokes.
Let me have this moment, OK?!?
Anyway, on with the show…
We've become pretty numb to seeing "we're closing" columns penned by newspaper owners and publishers over the years. But when I saw one from an online news outlet yesterday, well, I admit I was a bit surprised.
The Bklyner, which serves the Brooklyn area of New York City, announced that it would stop publishing Sept. 10, with "no immediate plans or date for resuming." The site originated as a network of neighborhood blogs, if you will, with some dating back to 2008. But as of next month it will be no more. At least for now.
Here's some of the explanation from editor and publisher Liena Zagare:
Zagare, whose husband is New York Times media columnist Ben Smith, added a bit more context as to why operations were being shut down now.
This is a good reminder that while running a newspaper in this day and age isn't easy, running a local news website is no walk in the park, either. Finding a sustainable business model is key for both, and being able to create a staffing model that can lead to the kind of work that needs to be done without causing burnout is equally important.