According to Tim Keck, publisher of Seattle's The Stranger and Portland, Ore.'s Mercury, alt-weeklies can draw on their iconoclastic voice, strong local entertainment coverage and close relationships with local businesses, to take the online lead in their communities and build their online revenue.
Founder of The Onion, publisher of The Stranger, and the head of on online empire that includes an iPhone app, a CMS, and a daily deal service, Tim Keck has earned himself a 2,300+ word profile — and a 17-image photo gallery — in The Seattle Times.
Index Newspapers has announced the launch of Altperks LLC, a “deals” ad network for local publishers that is a hyperlocal alternative to Groupon and Living Social.
Index Newspapers (parent company of The Stranger and Portland Mercury) and Night & Day Studios have released a Savage Love iPhone app, which provides "an interactive take on the love, sex, and relationship advice Dan Savage has been serving up for nearly 20 years," as the press release puts it. The app features a "Question of the Day" updated each afternoon, previous columns and podcasts, and exclusive text and video content. "We thought for sure that the app store would reject this but they approved in record time," Stranger publisher Tim Keck says. "I guess we've lost our touch." The app sells for $1.99, and is tagged in the iTune app store as having "Frequent/Intense Sexual Content or Nudity," "Frequent/Intense Profanity or Crude Humor," and "Frequent/Intense Mature/Suggestive Themes." In other words, everything you love about Savage Love to begin with.
The Stranger's "Questionland" is like other web Q&A features like Yahoo Answers, but as publisher Tim Keck points out, the local focus of the Stranger's readership makes it even more valuable. "It's different from throwing a question out into the whole wide world," he tells VentureBeat. "You run into these people on the street, and they know each other."
In a round table discussion with representatives of other Seattle news organizations, Tim Keck discusses how The Stranger fits in to the transformation of the news business. He says that 2007 was the paper's best year ever, and '08 was slightly down due to the tanking economy. While he says that The Stranger has "probably three times the number" of online readers, he notes that print circulation hasn't dropped that much either. "The media compan[ies] that can navigate different mediums [are] going to be the ones that survive," Keck says. "The thing that really moors them is no longer the medium -- a print publication -- it's going to be the community and the brand."
In a preview of an on-campus panel discussion about The Onion, Tim Keck tells a student newspaper that he and Chris Johnson (now publisher of Albuequrque's Weekly Alibi) started the satirical newspaper in their dorm room in 1988 in honor of Keck's hometown paper. "At the time, (the Oshkosh Northwestern) was really bad, and the headlines were unwittingly hilarious," Keck says. He also tells the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire's The Spectator that Johnson's uncle came up with the name, which derives from the steady diet of onion sandwiches that penury compelled the co-founders to consume during their college days.
Dan Savage (in photo) and Tim Keck haven't fully participated in the electoral process lately, and their cross-town rivals are calling them on it. Seattle Weekly's Mark Fefer culled county voting records and determined that Editor Savage missed several recent elections and Publisher Keck isn't registered to vote. Fefer contrasts their actions with The Stranger's brash encouragement to its readers to join the political process.
Since its mid-June release, “The Stranger Guide to Seattle: The City’s Smartest, Pickiest, Most Obsessive Urban Manual” has been flying off bookstore shelves and out of dot.com mail-order warehouses -- and not just in Seattle.