6am City's Ryan Heafy on building a sustainable local news model


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6am City is turning to the newsletter to build out a network of 25 local news publications it says have 1 million cumulative subscribers and an open rate around 50%. After starting in Greenville, South Carolina, in 2016, 6am has expanded to markets like Madison, Wisconsin; Austin; Portland; and Indianapolis. The 6am formula is to keep new publications’ costs under $250,000, staff them with two-or three editorial staffers and four total employees, mostly making money from ads, both local and regional. It looks for markets based on a criteria developed, including income and education levels, inflows and outflows of residents, charitable giving and retail activity. It aims to get to profitability (and healthy 50% profit margins) in a market in two to three years.

Thanks to Jay Sparks from PodHelp.us for producing the episode.