Michael Grass, executive editor of Atlantic Media’s embryonic, state-focused digital publication Route Fifty, announced three new hires as the site prepares for its debut later this spring. Dave Nyzcepir, previously a reporter for the Southern California-based Desert Sun, comes on as news editor and Bill Lucia will be a reporter for the site. Lucia was a reporter at Inside U.S. Trade, a newsletter aimed at policymakers. Government Executive Editor-at-Large Timothy Clark will serve as a full-time contributor for Route Fifty while retaining his role at the Atlantic Media sister site.
Route Fifty’s debut comes at a crossroad for locally-focused coverage, where shrinking budgets and folding dailies have significantly reduced the resources and reporters available for strong local coverage, while deeper-pocketed digital organizations have yet to discover the secret sauce to successfully scale local news. As a spin-off inspired by the success of Government Executive’s “State & Local” vertical, let’s see if Route Fifty can do it.