A tale of two sites fighting for survival

When it comes to fundraising for local news, rural communities are at a disadvantage


Two local news sites — one a senior citizen in digital years, the other a relative youngster — represent both the opportunities and challenges confronting digital entrepreneurs today.

The San Jose Spotlight — one of the more than 60 local or state news sites founded in the past three years — covers a digitally connected city of a million residents in the heart of Silicon Valley. Established in 2019 by a husband-and-wife team, it focuses on the “local stuff” — City Hall, school board meetings, neighborhood events — no longer covered by the local daily newspaper, The Mercury News.

A mere 50 miles away in San Benito County, the Benito Link, established in 2012, is one of 100 sites founded 10 or more years ago. It serves a ranching community, where more than half of the 66,000 residents identify as Hispanics or Latinos, and almost a third commute to work in the San Jose metro market.

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