Local News Now, the publisher of ARLnow.com, is announcing several key strategic hires today as it continues to build a sustainable future for local online news.
LNN has hired Andrea Swalec, previously a reporter and editor at the local news website DNAinfo New York, to be the company’s new editorial director. Andrea will help support and oversee LNN’s three current sites — ARLnow.com, BethesdaNow.com and RestonNow.com — and will take the lead in launching the company’s new Capitol Hill site, HillNow.com. A tentative launch date of Oct. 20 has been set for Hill Now.
Andrea previously worked at NBC Local Integrated Media and contributed to The Current Newspapers — including Voice of the Hill, formerly a weekly newspaper covering Capitol Hill — and the New York Times blog The Local.
The addition of Andrea to the LNN team will help the company continue to grow while maintaining high editorial standards and our hyper-focus on local communities. LNN now employs five full-time journalists, in addition to a growing roster of freelance contributors.
On the sales side, over the past month LNN has signed agreements with two advertising sales contractors in Reston and Bethesda. The contractors will work with LNN’s full-time sales director to boost sales while providing advertising clients with friendly, highly-personalized, locally-based service.
“There are no better sales advocates for our local news websites than those who live and work in the communities that we cover,” said LNN founder Scott Brodbeck.
Meanwhile, work is wrapping up on a significant site redesign for the LNN network. Initially launched at the end of August, the redesign is intended to improve the user experience across LNN sites, boost readability on mobile devices, and add additional revenue-generating opportunities. The site was designed by D.C.-based design firm Brave UX and coded by 10up, a premier WordPress development firm that counts FiveThirtyEight, TechCrunch and Entertainment Weekly among its credits.
“These moves represent a significant investment in the future of the company and a vote of confidence for the profitability of well-run local, independent online news operations,” said Brodbeck. “As we continue to experience sales growth, we are reinvesting that revenue in journalism, human capital and technology. We look forward to continuing to find ways to better serve our existing local communities while looking for opportunities to serve other communities with our unique brand of interesting, relevant and timely local news coverage.”
After the launch of HillNow.com, LNN has a fifth D.C. area site launch in the pipeline, tentatively targeted for mid-2015. The exact location of that site is yet to be announced.
Founded in 2010, Local News Now is based in the Rosslyn area of Arlington, Va. The company has six full-time employees in Virginia and Maryland, in addition to two sales contractors and several part-time, freelance reporters.