In western Pennsylvania, Trib Total Media made the move into digital news early, starting the region’s first online news hub, Tributaries, in 1995. Since then, the company has seen the internet take over the news industry, and although they’ve grown with the web, they’ve still seen the less-positive impacts of the public’s reliance on free, digital-first news. They’ve come to the News Media Alliance to help figure out how to take the next steps and keep quality local journalism alive.
“I’ve always felt the Alliance had value, going back to when it was the Newspaper Association of America,” says Jennifer Bertetto, Trib Total Media’s president and CEO. “But when they became the News Media Alliance and I saw the great work they were doing in the industry, I knew we had to join.
“The Alliance is doing incredible work in pushing back against giants like Facebook and Google that are dabbling in our industry, and they’re really moving the needle,” she adds. “Hearing about everything the Alliance is doing really reinvigorated me about everything happening on the national level and made me want to get involved.”
Trib Total Media is prepared for the fight to stay alive and relevant. When things were difficult for the company several years ago, they transitioned several papers into digital-only publications, keeping readers informed on a new platform. And their original digital property, now known as TribLIVE, is one of the Pittsburgh area’s most popular online news sites. It provides news, sports and classifieds to readers, just like their print properties do.
The company now runs several daily and weekly newspapers, news websites, weekly shoppers, an online radio station and a commercial print division. Trib Total Media continually reinvents itself in order to best serve its community. While it has worked to grow the digital side of the company, as well its profitable commercial division, it remains devoted to informing readers in Westmoreland and Allegheny Counties and the Alle-Kiski Valley, providing them with daily and weekly newspapers and digital news sources.
And they hope to do more with help from the Alliance.
“Within a day of receiving the welcome packet, all of my direct reports were able to start using the new tools available to them, and they love it,” Bertetto says of joining the Alliance. “It’s a great opportunity for smaller publishers.
“When I saw how affordable it was to be part of the Alliance, there was no way we weren’t going to join,” she adds. “With all of the connections membership affords you and all the tools that are provided to publishers and their staff, it’s an amazing value. For everything we’re getting, I know the return on investment for this will come in just a matter of weeks.”
Jennifer Peters is former content manager of the News Media Alliance.