The Alternative Press (TAP), an indie network of 14 sites in suburban New Jersey, created a new licensing program making hyperlocal news outlets easier to sustain. According to Streetfight, TAP allows startups to have the proper tools to create hyperlocal news with editorial templates and sales guides.
TAP was created by Mike Shapiro who got his start as a litigation attorney. The licensing program initiative costs participants $2,500 in the first year, $5,000 in year two, and $10,000 in year three in addition to %10 of their ad revenue. But Shapiro predicts that a licensee should bring in between $50,000 and $100,000 in income after the three year ramp up.
One of the individuals to receive a license from TAP is Mindy Scarlett, who launched who launched the Scotch Plains and Fanwood site in January. Scarlett told Streetfight, “My intent is to strengthen both communities. My take on hyperlocal is to present things in the most positive way possible. I’m not out there to stir up trouble. Some publications take two lines out of the police blotter and blow it up into a big story.”
Scarlett also said that AOL’s Patch, which runs The Scotch Plains-Fanwood Times, is her main competitor. But in her four months of running her website, Scarlett already has ten advertisers, and has ten waiting to be looked at. Shapiro lets his licensees have a lot of leigh way, but he also emphasizes the importance of local reporting.