Allbritton Communications will merge its two Washington, D.C.-area TV station sites — WJLA.com and News8.net — and build a new 50-person local D.C. site behind former Washingtonpost.com editor Jim Brady, who developed the concept. The site will be run adjacent to Politico, Allbritton’s successful all-politics vertical.
In an interview with paidContent.org, Brady said he hopes to replicate Politico’s “Web first” culture. He also says there is an acknowledgement that you can’t build a successful local operation on a shoestring budget. The new site will have a full slate of reporters, editors and videographers.
“The concept is, to win big, you have to bet big,” he told paidContent. “To build a business, you have to build an audience. And to build an audience, you have to have enough interesting content features. You can’t take 10 people and create a local site as a business.”
Brady also notes that the site will have an advantage over others by building on top of the broadcast station Web sites and their audiences. “They already have traffic and they already have revenues. And this project has two TV stations that can do a fair amount of promotion for a new Web site, on top of existing, functioning newsrooms. But “there’s no need for three local Web sites owned by the same company.”
Allbritton’s new entity will not only compete against Washingtonpost.com, but also against Bonneville’s WTOP. Not only does WTOP have an award-winning all-news Web site, but it also runs WFED, a vertical online site and on-air station that is specifically targeted at federal workers and procurement.