Engaging Audiences: Characteristics of the Respondents
The vast majority (82%) of the news sites focused on a specific community or geographic region, which is where most of the growth in entrepreneurial news startups has been. Just over 37% addressed a specific topic or cluster of issues, such as health or the environment. This is a growing area for news sites that seeks to connect with specific demographic or interest-based communities.
Nearly 97% reported having original reported content and 63% aggregated content from other sources. Only 62% have advertising. About 65% of the respondents had 50,000 or fewer unique visitors per month. Many sites were very small: 37% have fewer than 10,000 unique visitors per month, however, 32% had more than 50,000 visitors per month.
Agewise, nearly 52% of the respondents were between 18 and 44; 25% were digital natives between 18 and 34. However, just over 48% were 45 and older. The range in ages fits the profiles of entrepreneurs launching news startups. These initiatives tend to be launched by young journalists just entering the business, mid-career journalists who have been downsized from newsrooms, or empty nesters who see media as a new way to volunteer in their communities.
Many of the respondents have only a small staff, and the publisher or editor was identified most frequently (81% of respondents) as the person responsible for both bolstering engagement and trying to measure it. However, nearly 24% of the respondents, usually the sites with larger audiences, reported having a community or engagement manager. Of those responding, 65% said they devoted as much as 10 hours a week to engagement activities.
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