Last Best News was launched in 2014. It covers the Billings, Mont., community and was started by publisher Ed Kemmick. Revenue: Advertising.
I launched this site early in 2014, leaving a 35-year career of working for daily newspapers. I didn't want to end my career on a sinking ship. My mission was to cover Billings, Montana., which I knew best, but to devote what time I could to covering Eastern Montana as well. Before launching, I sold enough ads to guarantee myself a monthly paycheck for half a year, and now, a little more than two years into it, I've never missed a paycheck. I only borrowed $5,000 to start and have not borrowed any more. Fundraising is low-key but continual, bringing in about $500 a month, generally. At the beginning of 2016, I brought on a partner, who ceased publishing a weekly alternative paper after 18 years. We ramped up our fundraising, online and with a big party, and raised a very helpful amount of money in a matter of weeks. We're still lean, but we pay ourselves, plus lots of contract people—freelancers, a web host, ad designer, accountant, bookkeeper, ad salesperson—and we scoop the local daily (where we both used to work) on a regular basis.
Facebook is far and away our main way of letting people know what we're up to. We tease every single post on Facebook and Twitter, but Facebook generates much more traffic. We also use MailChimp to send out a weekly list of published stories.
We just need to sell more ads, now that I have taken on a partner, but I'm convinced we can do that at levels high enough to pay both our salaries.
I also try to cover Eastern Montana.
Local television station pays me to use my content.