The Internet gave us options, maybe too many options. Readers—especially millennials—can often feel overwhelmed when it comes to deciding where to get their news. However, millennials in Pittsburgh can breathe a sigh of relief, as 535 Media—a digital and multimedia affiliate of Trib Total Media (owner of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review )—recently launched Upgruv.com. The site offers original reporting (about three new stories a day), personalized aggregated news, videos and multimedia content.
“With Upgruv, we wanted a mobile-first format that allows readers to sample a variety of content, ‘tapas-style,’ and we wanted to focus on items that have a blend of national and local content,” said Jim Kubus, Upgruv.com manager and deputy managing editor for the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. “It’s a platform that allows us to share stories, but sometimes the post is just a single tweet or a photograph. The site offers a glimpse of trending stories, videos and multimedia content in a format that feels different than a typical media website.”
Kubus said the greatest challenge in launching a new site was spreading out critical people from the organization’s daily operations to focus on the site’s creation, which took about four months to prepare. Currently, there are three full time employees and four others who have roles at Upgruv but hold other positions within the company as well.
“That can be difficult for any workplace, and certainly in an industry that has seen some drastic changes in the past decade,” he said.
In 2015, Trib Total Media restructured into a more digitally focused company and launched 535 Media. Upgruv is the first website launched as a result of the shift, and it won’t be the last. The media company hopes to “align the company’s advertising and news operations to the rapidly evolving digital landscape that has drastically altered how readers get their news,” according to a Tribune-Review report.
While Upgruv.com has only been live for a short time, Kubus said he’s pleased with the “steady pace of visitors and social sharing that has occurred with little to no promotion.”
In order to grow the site, Kubus said they’re promoting it through Facebook and Twitter, but they also have local billboard and radio campaigns underway. To generate revenue, Kubus said they’ll be utilizing native ads and will offer a variety of event-driven sponsorship promotions. They also plan on launching an app in the future.
“We believe that our readers find value with content that is summarized and easy to digest,” he said. “Our readers want to be informed and entertained. There’s a certain level of snark and a degree of non-traditional approach.”