TownNews Creates a New Service to Fight News Deserts

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To combat the growing field of news deserts, TownNews recently launched a service called News Nirvana that identifies news deserts, partners with capable local publishers and editors and provides them with the tools and resources needed to create a digital news enterprise.

News Nirvana provides partners a CMS, a web domain (Yoursite.NewsNirvana.com), targeted programmatic advertising campaigns managed by TownNews’ digital ad ops team, subscription and membership support, and detailed website and revenue analysis. Partners can also share and source content from TownNews Content Exchange, a network made up of more than 600 participating news publishers.

In addition, TownNews shares half of all programmatic ad revenue with their partners. However, the partners keep 100 percent of any local advertising sold.

According to Rick Rogers, chief revenue officer, the hope is that these partners will create a thriving business plan and eventually graduate to a full TownNews CMS experience.

Rogers explained that the idea for this service started early this year, but as work was underway, COVID-19 hit and TownNews felt an urgency to launch it right away.

“We were hearing the stress that COVID-19 had put on advertising and we quickly realized this program could be more vital than ever,” he said. “It went from startup incubator to also possible life raft for local media owners.”

Those interested can apply at the News Nirvana website (newsnirvana.com). There is no limit to how many outlets News Nirvana can host.

One current partner is Link 2 Lee’s Summit, an online news site covering Lee’s Summit, Mo. E&P asked site founder Nick Parker what was attractive about News Nirvana.

 “These are tools organizations like mine could not normally afford. News Nirvana gives small community news groups incredible user engagement tools, while also instantly adding access to revenue we normally wouldn’t have,” he said.

Rogers hopes News Nirvana will help news publishers achieve what the name promises.

“News is something that every community needs, and I think for a community to be successful, for a community to have a bright future or to be prosperous, for it to achieve nirvana, it needs a strong local news presence.”

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