Hyperlocal Publisher Shout Out: My Edmonds News
by: Reilly O'Connor, on May 29, 2014 in Publisher Shout Outs
This week’s featured publication is My Edmonds News, a digital news site covering the happenings in Edmonds, Washington. We recently interviewed the site’s founder, and a valuable publisher using LYM, Teresa Wippel. During our conversation we were able to gain both insight on her experience, as well as some words of wisdom in addressing challenges she has faced. Wippel started My Edmonds News five years ago, and subsequently acquired MLT News and Lynnwood Today, extending her reach to the Mountlake Terrace and Lynnwood areas of Washington State. Wippel, along with the Local Yokel team, believes wholeheartedly in the power of local journalism and strives each day to make it scale.
Q. What has been one of your proudest moments/breakout successes with your site?
A. When I started (the first site 5 years ago – the next to come later) I envisioned my website to be a place with a lot of online interaction within the community. I wanted a site with engaged readership and respectful discussion. What I had envisioned came to a reality and that is the very best part.
Q. What has been your biggest challenge?
A. Time. Never having enough. It is hard to balance when you’re in a startup with a low budget and at times a shortage of staff members. It’s difficult to prioritize and make the business side more important than the editorial side. Business is hard, editorial is fun. Journalism is the stuff we we’re trained for – we love to go out and find the stories or take the pictures – the business side just doesn’t come as naturally.
Q. How do you address this challenge and what has happened as a result?
A. There have been a lot of mentors out there to help. The National Journalism Organizations have stepped up to figure out how to help journalism evolve and make it scalable. I’ve also participated in things like news entrepreneur boot camps, and I’ve become a member of the LION (Local Independent Online News Publishers) group. Having a system of support has been a huge help. Most people trained in journalism know that the financial side is changing, but fundamentally, they know journalism is a cornerstone of democracy.
Q. If you could do it all over again with the knowledge you have today, what would you do differently?
A. I definitely would have started by building a stronger initial business platform – I originally got into it for the fun – but then I found out there was a demand for it and that kind of came second. I did everything backwards.
Q. Do you have any advice or tips you would like to share with fellow hyperlocal online publishers?
A. My advice would be that you don’t ever need to feel like you’re doing it alone. There are tons of people to support you, networking opportunities available, and conferences that will help you get the information you need. It’s hard to do by yourself, but when you find people to support you, that can go a long way.
We love talking with publishers who focus on reporting what matters to their local residents, check them out! :