Entrepreneur Finds Unique Ways to Serve Local Communities in News Deserts

Entrepreneur Finds Unique Ways to Serve Local Communities in News Deserts

Entrepreneur Finds Unique Ways to Serve Local Communities in News Deserts 150 150

Local newspapers aren’t exactly a thriving business in 2024. But at least one enthusiastic entrepreneur is taking a chance on them in the hopes of delivering more quality local news coverage across parts of the U.S.

Jeremy Gulban is a New Jersey-based tech executive who runs CherryRoad Media, a company that acquires and runs local news outlets. Gulban began buying newspapers about four years ago, and now runs 85 papers across 18 states. Many of them are located in news deserts or locations that wouldn’t otherwise have any reliable local news source.

According to a recent study from Northwestern University, the U.S. lost about 2.5 local newspapers each week throughout 2023. And most states now have at least one county with no official local news source.

There are many reasons why local newspapers are struggling. The increased popularity of online news and the changing state of advertising makes it a tough business model to manage profitably. And there are also large firms buying these outlets and shutting them down or running them in a way that causes readership to decline.

Gulban’s goal of buying these papers and starting new ones is to actually serve local readers and find a way to make the business model profitable again. While he told the Seattle Times that the business isn’t turning a profit quite yet, he expects it to get there shortly. In addition to providing quality coverage, part of the difference he’s providing is developing a “newspaper as a service” software, including options like cloud-based storage and circulation systems for other local communities.

Gulban told the Seattle Times, “It’s a lot of work and it’s hard, there’s a lot of setbacks. But at the end of the day I just really enjoy what I’m doing and I would really encourage others to do it or pull together resources in the community.”

It’s too early to tell whether Gulban’s venture will succeed. But the idea of providing an important service to communities that don’t have access to reliable news sources is a worthy goal. And putting a unique spin on it with software and trying to simplify news delivery throughout the U.S. could ultimately lead the company to profitability.

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