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Building blocks in the emerging local news ecosystem

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Statistics
Site Twitter handle

@LastBestNews

Facebook link

https://www.facebook.com/LastBestNews

Year launched

2014

Tax status

  • LLC

Monthly visitors

55,000

Revenue

  • $51,000 -€“ 100,000

Primary revenue sources (50% or more)

  • Local advertising
  • Small donations (Less than $1,000)

Secondary revenue sources (20-49%)

  • Events

Smaller revenue sources (less than 20%)

  • None at this level (less than 20%)

Publishing platform

  • Largo (INN Wordpress stack)

Mobile

55 to 60 percent

E-newsletter

  • Yes

E-newsletter subscribers

If my newsletter you mean an email alert, yes. We have about 500 subscribers.

Is your site indexed on Google News?

  • Not sure

City

Billings

State

Montana

Last Publisher Update

  • 2016-03-07 04:28:03 UTC

Last Best News
Billings, Montana
Ed Kemmick

 

Last Best News was launched in 2014. It covers the Billings, Mont., community and was started by publisher Ed Kemmick. Revenue: Advertising.

Introduction by publisher

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.

Effective engagement practice

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.

Business challenge

Oddly, no.
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.

Coverage area

  • Community or town

Other geographic focus

I also try to cover Eastern Montana.

Mission

  • Emphasize several topics but not cover all the news broadly

Topics of coverage

  • Entertainment & arts
  • Government & politics
  • Local events

Watchdog

  • Yes, occasional

Other institutional partners

Local television station pays me to use my content.

Content contributors

  • Professional journalists
  • Community members who are not journalists

Contributor compensation

  • Full-time, paid staff
  • Volunteers

Revenue-side compensation

  • Part-time commission only

Publish donors

  • Do not publish names of donors or foundations

In the news

Crisp suspends Outpost, joining Last Best News
http://bit.ly/1SMfBQx

Columbia Journalism Review: "A bureau’s closure sparks talk of new approaches to state coverage in Montana"
http://bit.ly/1TYGjWU