The Sacramento Press, a community news site for the Sacramento metro area, expects to hit profitability this year. It pays the salaries of twelve, has its own ad network that’s netting $18 CPM (Patch is supposedly charging $15) and has 800 unpaid “community contributors” — all in barely a year.
The Knight Citizen News Network profiled the Press earlier this year. We’re just coming across it now. It seems to have promise.
The 800 contributors are prolific partially because, we imagine, the site has a badge system: anyone who’s paid staff, of course, gets the Staff Reporter badge, but a citizen journalist who’s attended the Sacramento Press’s free workshops on ethics, photojournalism, or more, gets a badge to mark their status. It truly is an “if you teach them, they will write” situation.
There’s one dark spot: the site brought in just $86,000 in revenue last year, and $30,000 of that didn’t come from the Sacramento Press.
Yes. While the Press generated $56,000 in ad revenue, the remaining cash came from the founders doing consulting and social media campaigns for other local businesses.
We are reminded of the writer moonlighting as a cleaning lady and wonder if this isn’t the same problem writ large: a news organization moonlighting as a marketer.
But if the Press’s revenue continues to grow at the rate it did in 2009, which was impressive, this may not be a problem for long.