Westport, you have company. Today, the team at Main Street Connect, which publishes this community news website, opened 32 new websites next door in Westchester County, N.Y. Its the largest media launch of its kind in the nation, and it's all thanks to you. Were building on the tremendous support weve gotten from readers and advertisers in Fairfield County to expand our dream of bringing neighbors everywhere their news. Were also introducing new features to TheDailyWestport, which we hope youll like and use.
Main Street Connect, or MSC for short, was founded in December 2009 by Carll Tucker, former editor and publisher of Trader Publications based in Cross River, N.Y. The company unveiled its first site, TheDailyNorwalk, in March 2010 and expanded rapidly to 10 communities in Fairfield County Darien, Easton, Fairfield, Greenwich, New Canaan, Norwalk, Stamford, Weston, Westport and Wilton. Collectively, they passed 1 million visits after just 10 months and are visited by more than 60 percent of the households in the towns they cover.
It was an overwhelming response, Tucker says. We now have 19 reporters and editors covering your news. Last week, MSC purchased Central Mass News, with nine local sites in the Worcester, Mass., area, including TheDailyGrafton .
In Westchester, MSCs coverage extends from the South Shore communities of New Rochelle and Rye, to the Hudson River towns of Dobbs Ferry and Tarrytown, to the northern hills of Bedford and North Salem. Check TheDailyWestchester for the full list. Were starting with 30 reporters and editors there, which makes us one of the largest journalistic staffs in the county. Many of them worked at newspapers or radio stations in the Westchester-Fairfield area or grew up there.
Whats new on this site? A better and easier way for you to send us your news, information, announcements and ideas. Click the box on the Home Page headed We Want to Hear From You. It takes you directly to our Get Involved page, where you can share your tips directly with your town reporter, Vanessa Inzitari. Youve probably seen Vanessa at civic meetings, charity events or just tooling around town. Next time, stop and tell her hello. Shell probably get a story from you before you part.
Our Get Involved page also makes it easy for you to share ideas for features youd like to see on this site and submit events for us to post on the Home Page calendar, Westport Week Ahead.
Another place to chat with Vanessa and submit ideas is TheDailyWestports Facebook page. We hope youll "Like" us there and share it with your friends.
Sharing is part of the mission of TheDailyWestport. Tucker describes it as a digital town green, where neighbors come together to offer their knowledge and find out whats going on. Our advertising tagline is Come Home, he says. Were returning to the roots of local news and reviving the concept of the hometown newspaper this time, in a digital format.
The business model for Main Street Connect goes beyond traditional banner advertising. Local and regional businesses are buying Annual Visibility Programs or AVPs, which include many unique features. For example, Local Hero honors a local resident, nominated by the advertiser, who serves the community. The feature, Our Customer Comes First, gives advertisers an opportunity to salute individual customers. Also, the advertiser can suggest an editorial profile about a neighbor who works in the business.
Our AVP program is the best marketing plan for local and regional advertisers ever invented in any medium. Im hugely gratified by how the businesses of Fairfield County have embraced it, Tucker said. Businesses know that their customers are moving online, he said. Through Main Street Connect, they can put their products and services directly in front of the people most likely to use them.
Tucker says he has a single goal: Creating community news sites online that are as excellent and profitable as the great community newspapers of the past. We thank all our readers and advertisers for their support. Our pledge is to keep on making your site better and more useful, all the time.
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