This regional news operation, launched for less than $1 million from angel investors, has a web site at its center, but it’s also pursuing related businesses. New West has launched a conference series, a custom publishing business, an indoor advertising business, and has plans to expand into book publishing. It sponsors wireless computer connections in coffee shops to help market its operations. “We conceived this all along as about building a media brand, about growth and change, leading with online,” said founder and CEO Jonathan Weber.
The New West staff has learned that the basic rules of the news business apply to their venture. Good stories and frequent postings drive the readership traffic that advertisers want. “What you really want, and what’s really going to sustain you, are the people who are going to bookmark you and come to you every morning, every afternoon, every night before they go to bed,” said managing editor Courtney Lowery. “Those are the people that you have to win over.”
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