TAP into Roxbury is an independently-owned local news site operating as a franchisee in the TAPinto.net network. Launched as The Alternative Press in 2008, the network shifted to a franchise model with independent ownership in 2013-14 and re-branded as TAPinto. The network provides franchisees with tech support, regional ad sales, editorial guidelines and business training in exchange for an annual fee. Revenue: Advertising.
After more than 20 years as a print journalist, opportunities were slim for me once I got laid off from a marketing position in late 2013. When I heard about the TAPinto network, I knew I could do the news coverage part, but I also knew how tough it would be to support myself selling local ads.
I was right on both counts. The site has grown nicely and now gets up to 60,000 monthly pageviews. I also have steadily added advertisers. But I am earning less than half of what I made in the 1990s. Local businesses are tight with the money.
I also never get a vacation! However, I am doing what I do best. I'm my own boss. People in town love the work I do. I've downsized my lifestyle and, as of now, life ain't so bad ... at least not as bad as in 2008 when all my freelance work went up in smoke.
One problem with this setup is my inability to follow stories as they reach county court. So I cover the robberies, but not the pleas, trials and sentencings. Same with lawsuits.
Facebook. All stories are teased to my Facebook page. I also to tweets, but Facebook is my main method of publicity.
Squeamishness by prospective advertisers. Complaints by advertisers who say the ads brought no business. Sheer volume of ads I need to sell to earn a decent living in New Jersey, since I can't charge too much for the ads.