When Scripps Newspapers asked me to profile a new media venture in Seattle for a series they’re running in papers across the country, I immediately thought of PubliCola.
Unlike some of the newer start-ups, the online political site has been around for a year and a half. In addition to that track record, PubliCola is attempting to make it as a for-profit company. Many of the journalism experiments emerging in Seattle are opting for grants and donations. I wanted to see how PubliCola, in this new age of media, was attempting to make it on old-fashioned advertising sales.
I discovered that PubliCola is hanging in there because founder and editor Josh Feit created a lean staff with a very focused mission. The site appeals to political junkies hungry for City Hall, Olympia, and Washington D.C. coverage. When PubliCola experimented with additional, broader content earlier this year, they spent more and didn’t attract more advertisers. And because of this, they retreated back to their original niche.
Scripps Newspapers targeted Seattle for one of the stories in its media coverage because this city is full of journalists who are experimenting. We can’t say for certain yet which ventures will take root, but PubliCola is an interesting study of a work in progress. They aren’t profitable just yet, but Feit believes he’s steering the operation in that direction.
The article on PubliCola appeared in the Kitsap Sun this week and will run in other Scripps papers and online. Here is a link to the piece.