The media landscape in Worcester has a new player — and it’s likely to shake up the landscape a bit.
GoLocal24, a company that’s been running GoLocalProv.com for the past year and a half is expanding to Worcester. It’s scheduled to launch a Worcester site soon and is putting serious resources into it. This is no journalist-wanna-be blog. It appears the site will have three full-time editorial writers in addition to a small crew putting together video news pieces. GoLocal has some serious investment dollars going into it and will be competing aggressively for ad dollars in the Worcester market. The new venture will set up shop in the old Worcester Research Bureau office next to Mechanics Hall. The site will also feature the talents of former Boston news anchor Natalie Jacobson.
The past few years has seen a number of small media endeavors looking to carve out their own niche of the Worcester news market, but this will definitely be one to watch. Worcester Wired — the non-profit WPI professor James Dempsey and I ran last summer — has been in sleep mode since I started working at the Telegram. The non-profit’s 501(c)3 status is stuck in limbo with the IRS with a slew of other non-profit news ventures that filed last year. A twice a month newspaper with the working title of The Worcester Progressive is also hoping to launch soon. But GoLocal is the first online venture in the city with some serious resources behind it.
GoLocal’s Providence site has made some serious waves in the past year and a half breaking several big stories. The site has pounced on a gaping hole being left open by the Providence Journal. It’s a mix of features, politics, news and voices from the community in the form of non-paid bloggers they call Mindsetters. It’s smart branding. GoLocal dodges the old police scanner and fire beats, choosing instead to concentrate on enterprise journalism. This should get the attention of Worcester Magazine as well since these are the type of stories the alt weekly should (and sometimes still does) do.
But can GoLocal thrive in Worcester? No one has a crystal ball in this market. Being an employee of the Telegram & Gazette I can only say the obvious, which is that the Telegram will look to hold its own. And whatever criticisms people may have of the Telegram, story for story, there’s more local news in it than ProJo.
With the T&G moving into its new offices this summer, a new online media company entering the market and a number of smaller ventures out there on top of the blogs, 2012 is promising to be the year of the media in Worcester.