New Website Determined To Attract Viewers
STEVE INSKEEP, host:
A new online player in news business arrives here in Washington, D.C. this week. It is called TBD, for To Be Determined, which is an inside joke about how long it took to come up with a name.
As NPR's David Folkenflik reports, TBD has some serious news muscle behind it.
DAVID FOLKENFLIK: Robert Allbritton turned the Beltway reporting culture on its ear a few years ago with the establishment of Politico. It's both a Capitol Hill print newspaper that mints money from running the ads of lobbyists and interests groups, and a website that siphons away online readers from the Washington Post and from political publications, including Roll Call, National Journal and The Hill.
Now, he's turned to a former WashingtonPost.com executive, Jim Brady, to focus TBD on local news. The site has hired more than 50 staffers, and Brady says it will contain original reporting, but aggregate the news of others, including competitors.
Mr. JIM BRADY (TBD): We know you're going to go to other sites, but if you think that we're giving you the best one-stop shop for what's going on in the region, then I think that makes you part of a habit, and that's how you win on the Web, is being part of someone's routine.
FOLKENFLIK: The site will serve as the unified home page for the two D.C. television stations also owned by Allbritton, and TBD has also struck deals with more than 100 local bloggers, sharing the advertising revenue that they generate.
Mr. BRADY: We're asking people for very specific data about the regions that matter to them: where they live, where they work, where their kids may go to school, and we'll deliver them a steady stream of information about that area.
FOLKENFLIK: Washington Post executive editor Marcus Brauchli tells NPR he respects TBD's leaders and notes his own paper revamped its local website last year. Before Politico, the two companies last competed in the mid-1970s, when Joseph Allbritton, Robert's father, owned the now-defunct Washington Star.
David Folkenflik, NPR News.