United States Project

Spirited Media—whose two Pennsylvania news outlets, Billy Penn and The Incline, thrive on a mixture of advertising, live events and membership opportunities—announced last week that it had merged with the Colorado media company that owns Denverite. “There was a lot of overlap in terms of what we were trying to do,” Spirited Media CEO Jim Brady tells CJR. “Why not go about it together?”
Though separated by a distance of 1,700 miles, the three news operations share some sensibilities: each is a mobile-first destination with a slightly irreverent tone and content designed to appeal to millennials. Speaking with CJR, Denverite journalists were upbeat about prospects for their job security and their first encounters with the staff of local news site partners in Pennsylvania.
A post on Billy Penn announcing the merger proclaimed Spirited Media’s goal to be “the BuzzFeed of local news.” In June, Brady argued that “now is the time to take advantage of what makes local unique instead of trying to follow the footsteps of a national business model that will never work for a local.”

As the new company works towards a news outlet in its fourth city—Chicago? Baltimore?—CJR correspondents in Colorado and Pennsylvania detail the merger and question whether Spirited Media’s business model “may yet prove to be the missing puzzle piece that long-gone local news sites never discovered.” Read the full story at CJR.

Be sure to read these new stories from CJR and correspondents to the United States Project:

  • What happens in Vegas, Norm Clarke knows. Danny Funt profiles Las Vegas’ legendary gossip columnist: “The press-wary pop star Britney Spears once could be heard complaining to a hotel owner after spotting ‘that guy with the eye patch.’ At a post-fight press event a few years ago, Floyd Mayweather saw an overaggressive cameraman ram into Clarke’s shoulder. ‘Hey, you, move back!’ the champ called out. ‘Norm, what do you need?’”
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