Ken Doctor pulls no punches on why the JCPA was a bad idea & updates us on two years at Lookout Local


On December 5th, 2022, well-known news publishing analyst Ken Doctor, published a 2800-plus word updatevia Nieman Lab on the 2-year progress of his innovative Santa Cruz, CA digital news start-up, Lookout Local.

Within the document, Doctor pulls no punches about his opinion on the state of legacy media and its desire to help bolster a sustainable business model via big tech compensation by writing: "Lookout Local has never been about money itself, but money to the end of the mission — money that can prove out the proposition that a robust replacement for suicidal dailies can, indeed, be built. That’s especially important in the age of Gannett’s trainwreck, Axios Local’s skimming, and the misguided Journalism Competition and Preservation act currently before Congress.”

He also claims good progress, with a digital-only local news enterprise reporting that without print costs, 80% of his bottom-line expenses are a staff of 15 full-time people, with 10 working in the newsroom and five on the business side. He also states proudly, "We’re old-fashioned, working in a real office, with face-to-face communication throughout the week." The lengthy article also offers industry advice crafted as 11 important "takeaways" as lessons learned over the past 2-years. They include being patient and aggressive, planning but being improvisational, making good friends, leaning on them, and including students in your newsroom.

In this 170th episode of E&P reports, we check in again with media analyst Ken Doctor on how the last 2-years have gone in his quest to build a perfect, sustainable model in local journalism he calls Lookout Local. We also ask him about his opinions on the future of legacy media and why he was so publicly against the recently failed, Local Journalism Sustainability Act (JCPA). Also appearing is Ashley Harmon (Holmes), Lookout Local’s new director of sales & marketing.


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