TAPinto.net Providing Hyperlocal News to NJ Communities
Steve Adubato goes one on one with Michael Shapiro, CEO & Publisher of TAPinto.net, about the need for “hyperlocal” news sites in an era when traditional newspapers are cutting back or shutting down. Shaprio also explains how what happens in small communities can eventually resonate on the national level.
"Welcome to One On One I'm Steve Adubato. I've read about this young man in the New York Times in a feature story about alternative media organizations and he is Michael Shapiro, CEO Publisher of TapInto.net. Good to see you Michael. Great to be here Steve, thank you. TapInto.net is? We're a network of more than 60 franchised online local newspapers in New Jersey and New York with more than 5.5 million readers. Okay, so here's my question. As someone who has relied on print for a long time, New Jersey, New York publications, and I love the online operation as well. Digital Operation. Is it more important that an operation like yours exists because of the struggles that the print side has had for so long? Yes, I mean there's such a need for original local news reporting in our towns. That's what we cover. We cover local daily news in our towns and what's been happening is media cutbacks, for example laying off journalists, or media consolidation or local newspapers that have become regionalized and by doing that. What does that mean? Regionalized? So, like for example, the independent press that used to cover my town, New Providence, New Jersey gradually expanded to cover six towns. What's wrong with that? It's more economical. So, instead of getting 5 or 6 stories a week about New Providence, you got 1 and then they were acquired by the Star Ledger and they basically don't exist anymore. It's now called Ledger Local and it's kind of like an insert that you get on your driveway. And that's really important because people have lost their local news coverage in those towns and TapInto is filling that void and providing original local news coverage in all of our towns. Let me ask you this. What I'm curious about is major stories. Stories like Bridge-gate. That story was broken by The Record. Mmmhmm. On the print side. Shawn Boburg I think it was? Shawn broke that story. Do you question whether in the current media landscape on the print side whether that story would have been broken? Today, yes. If you asked that question a few months ago I would have said it would still be broken, but with Gannett's acquisition of NorthJersey.com, and then they proceeded to lay off... NorthJersey.com which is the owner of The Record. Correct. And then they gutted the news rooms and more than 50% of the folks there have lost their jobs. Today, I don't think that story would be broken. Hold on. Devil's advocate. Why not be broken by someone on the digital side at NorthJersey.com. Right, well, I think in that case we don't..."