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GrowthSpur’s First Two Media Partners: TBD.com and Journal Register

July 15, 2010

We’re thrilled to announce that GrowthSpur is teaming up with two of the most innovative media companies around, TBD.com and Journal Register, to help them build out local blog networks with GrowthSpur’s ad-sales system and tools.

TBD.com, owned by Allbritton Communications and a corporate cousin of Politico, is about to launch a local news and info site in Washington that will surround reporting by a small group of professional journalists with the best from a network of local community blogs—about 100 so far, and more being added every day. Led by former WashingtonPost.com editor Jim Brady, TBD may be the most interesting and far-reaching of the many experiments in creating new models for local coverage—a true example of GrowthSpur godfather Jeff Jarvis’ “cover what you do best and link to the rest” philosophy. You should read TBD Community Engagement Director Steve Buttry’s explanation of what TBD is up to with its blog network, which is designed to drive traffic and revenue to all those hard-working local bloggers while providing deep, comprehensive coverage of the D.C. area.

GrowthSpur’s role will be to help the TBD network bloggers with ad sales, by providing them tools and training and assembling them into a local network in which they can sell each others’ ads. The first of the TBD bloggers are already on the GrowthSpur ad server and out selling ads to businesses in their communities. It’s been awesome meeting and working with dozens of cool, passionate bloggers in the D.C. area, and it’s fascinating to have a front-row seat to watch Brady, Buttry and the rest of the TBD team assemble this pioneering effort in reinventing local coverage. We can’t wait to see it launch in the next few weeks. We think TBD is going to be a model for the future of modern metro news sites, and we’re honored to be able to help the bloggers make some money for their efforts.

Journal Register isn’t a startup like TBD; in fact, until recently it was the very model of a creaky old newspaper company, saddled with debt and declining business and too much outdated thinking. And then John Paton was hired as CEO earlier this year and the company jumped headlong into the future. Paton is the smartest, most forward-thinking CEO in the newspaper business, committed to making Journal Register truly a “digital-first” company. For a glimpse of Paton’s thinking and what he’s doing, check this out, not to mention his Digital First blog, and the company’s remarkable Ben Franklin and Idealab projects. Paton and his team are doing breakthrough work that other media companies should be emulating—ASAP.

We’ll play a part in this corporate metamorphosis by providing ad-sales network support for blog networks that Journal Register is bringing together in the Philadelphia suburbs. As with everywhere else we’ve looked, the area around Philadelphia is teeming with bloggers covering their communities or focusing on specific local topics. Journal Register will bring them together to supplement its newspaper coverage there, with GrowthSpur, again, helping them the bloggers become mini-publishers by assisting them with ad sales and allowing them to sell each others’ ads. As with TBD, just being around the smart thinkers at Journal Register like Paton, Dan Sarko and Jon Cooper, is invigorating and inspiring—these folks are not afraid to try new things to provide better local coverage for their audiences and more opportunities for their advertisers.

We continue to work with other blogs from all over the country to help them learn to sell ads and create sustainable business models, and we hope to be announcing more partnerships soon to build out local ad-sales networks with other media companies. Right now, TBD and Journal Register are providing us with real-world laboratories to show off what GrowthSpur can do to help local bloggers make money and tap into local advertising revenue. We’re excited to be working with these great partners to help create—and support—the future of local media.

PS: GigaOM has more on the partnership.

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