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Newton group hopes to return real news outlet to the city

A group of Newton residents have formed a foundation to start the Newton Beacon to give the Garden City the sort of news coverage it lost long ago as GateHouse and now Gannett, which is really still GateHouse, slashed its reporting staff in the Boston area and elsewhere.

The Newton News Foundation will introduce itself to the public at a meeting at 7 p.m. on June 16 at the Durant-Kenrick House, 286 Waverley Ave.

The group hopes to fund actual news coverage primarily through grants and donations, rather than advertising or subscriptions.



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Can we do this with the Herald? It’s basically an InfoWars-esq tabloid with less veiled racism.

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because the other Boston paper of record has largely abandoned local coverage unless you live in Newton or Rhode Island.

The Herald, Gannett, Patch, and Axios are worse.

Unfortunately, I don't see how you can generate revenue on local news. BUR and GBH at least appear to try and Twitter fills part of the hole.

Adam, when Elon calls talk about franchise opportunities and don't settle for the first billion.

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For Newton, this group's emphasis on grants and fundraising could work because, well, Newton's a rich community with a lot of people with disposable income who might like to be informed on what's going on. Brookline could probably support something similar.

Obviously not an approach that would work in, say, underserved parts of Boston (Allston/Brighton really, really needs full-time coverage).

But there's got to be a way to connect businesses that want to reach specific local audiences (think restaurants, hardware stores, coffeehouses, bookshops, etc.) with people who want to know what's going on, through a medium that doesn't price the former out with the metropolitan-area pricing of a bostonglobe.com or Gannett.

There are sites that are doing that well in other parts of the country (there's even a trade association; disclaimer: I'm a member).

Of course, talk is cheap, and I haven't done this, because selling ads is a completely different art than writing news stories (for starters, there's way more rejection) and I've done well enough with page views I can get by mostly on Google Ads and the like, plus reader contributions (thank you each and every one of you contributors!), but it's not rocket science (what it is is a lot of work).

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Do what these guys do, since it seems to work for them.

A few other suburbs appear to have functioning weeklies. Keeping hedge funds away from them seems to be a big part of how they survive.

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