Checking in with Ken Doctor on News Disruptor Startup: Lookout Local

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For 15 years, Ken Doctor has been preaching innovative news publishing business models through Newsonomics, his own company and website. Six months ago, he started his experiment Lookout Local, which launched with Lookout Santa Cruz, the company’s first site based in Santa Cruz County, Calif. Doctor’s intention with the site is to show the industry his vision on what is needed to be the local news leader this decade. Today he boasts over 12,000+ email followers and just under 1,000 paid website subscribers after just three months of putting his content behind a paywall.

Lookout Local was started with $2.5-million dollars donated by the Knight Foundation, Google News Innovation Challenge, The Lenfest Institute for Journalism, and various other foundations. One of his news publishing competitors is Dan Pulcrano, CEO of Metro Newspapers and owner of Good Times a free-circulation weekly newspaper based in Santa Cruz. Pulcrano recently penned an editorial claiming that the $2.5 million Doctor raised was partly due to his shopping a false narrative that Santa Cruz is a ‘news desert,’ a community without reporting, one that’s uninformed and parched for news—it is anything but. 

In this episode of Editor & Publisher’s Vodcast: “E&P Reports,” publisher Mike Blinder checks in with Doctor and Jed Williams, founding chief revenue officer at Lookout Local, on how their business model is doing after launching during a pandemic.

Related Links:
Lookout  Santa Cruz website: https://lookout.co/santacruz/

Ken Doctor’s email message on Lookout Local’s six-month anniversary:
https://lookout.co/santacruz/business-technology/local-business/story/2021-05-25/six-months-in-we-at-lookout-thank-you

Dan Pulcrano's editorial: "Lookout Local: Ken Doctor’s False Narrative About Santa Cruz:" https://goodtimes.sc/santa-cruz-news/lookout-local-ken-doctor-false-narrative/

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