Niche news outlets are becoming the latest trendy thing. Sites like the Seattle Transit Blog create an channel of local news on niche topics that readers are interested in. Blogs like this are designed to “fill a void in the community.” There is an entire list of them here from Michele McClellan of the Reynolds Journalism Institute.
The thing about localized news is that if it’s not relevant to you, that’s that. I looked through Michele’s list for a long time trying to find a site that peaked my interest but I’m not a Brooklyn parent, a New Jersey foodie, or a Texas wine lover. So, I immediately began filtering through sites that could be relevant to my life. As a native of Washington, the Seattle Transit Blog was calling my name.
The content of the blog hits nearly 50,000 people each month. With a “well-educated, engaged audience consisting of well-informed Seattle-area citizens, transit riders & enthusiasts, as well as many government officials and local media,” this blog delivers new content daily. Even on the weekends.
“It is a must-read for anyone who cares about living, working, and getting around in the Puget Sound.” -STB
Seattle Transit Blog even has a community page called “Page 2” open to anyone who has something to say about transit or urban issues. Members of the community generally post once a week. This creates a public forum where comments are encouraged.
The design of the blog is professional. All writing, photography, and video is presented in a way that is pleasing to the eye. STB is a non-profit organization with a very small paid staff. Most contributors are volunteers from all walks of life, occupations, and perspectives. It is evident that the people writing and reading this site are incredibly passionate.
The site generates revenue from donations as well as advertising and sponsorships. They
offer advertising for $200/week or $40/day. Clearly-labeled sponsored posts run in their feed however limited to once per week for $300. Since STB prides itself on serving the greater community, discounts are given to advertisers of political campaigns and local activism issues. Perfect for the average Seattleite, if you ask me.
The founders of STB found a pain-point in the community and created a local solution. This is the future of modern news.