How Local and Independent Publishers Can Stay Relevant and Generate Revenue


Independent Publishers Have a Built-in Relevance Niche

One of the biggest benefits that small local and indie newspapers have going for them is relevance. Larger publishers cover news broadly. And that leaves the community focus mainly untapped. A national paper can’t very well cover every community. And even larger local dailies and weeklies can only drill down so far before the newspaper becomes watery thin.

That’s not the case for small local publishers and community newspapers. Instead of approaching the news from cruising altitude, you can drive in at the ground level. A 2013 Pew Research report on new revenue streams suggests that some of the greatest rewards are found in the development of the niche market. When you aren’t worried about national headlines, you can find what matters most to your target audience and develop new ways to deliver it creatively.

And if national stories need a place in your newspaper, being an independent publisher lets you take an existing story and flesh it out for something meatier or deliver it in a clever way. Why does the story matter to the community that you cover? Are there details that the larger papers skimmed over that you can shed more light on? Probably.

Former New Haven Register editor, Matt DeRienzo, tells Poynter’s Benjamin Mullen that he remembers a time when a ‘scrappy little site’ called the New Haven Independent scooped him again and again. That was possible, he says, because while his paper was focused on traditional stories, they had a ‘laser-like focus on the city.’

The independent newspaper niche is focused relevance. When you have relevance, you have value. Readers and advertisers come back to publishers that provide something they can’t get anywhere else.”

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