Jun 13, 2023 - Business

Indianapolis news startups offer more places to click

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Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Newspaper wars are back, albeit in the form of friendly competition across websites and newsletters.

Driving the news … about news: Despite the prevailing narrative about a dying news business, more newsrooms are competing for your attention in Indianapolis than the city has seen in many years — with more on the way.

Why it matters: After decades of newsroom staff reductions across newspapers, radio and TV, this new mix of nonprofit and for-profit enterprises is restoring coverage to important issues.

The big picture: These players join existing media including IndyStar, IBJ, Chalkbeat Indiana (an Axios partner), the Indianapolis Recorder, WTHR, FOX 59, WRTV, WISH-TV, WFYI, INDYtoday, Indy Maven and others.

Reality check: A few startups can't replace the hundreds of journalists who once roamed Indianapolis when the city had multiple newspapers competing daily.

  • Those days — and even the more recent days of 100-plus reporters at IndyStar — are over.
  • The industry remains volatile, as seen Monday when The Athletic laid off renowned Indianapolis sports columnist Bob Kravitz.

💭 James' thought bubble: Even with three-to-five-person newsrooms, the proliferation of startups has me feeling optimistic, at least for Indianapolis.

  • The outlook isn't as good for smaller cities, such as Bloomington where The Herald-Times staff is a fraction of what it was 10 years ago.
  • But Dave Bangert in Lafayette is proving that a one-person newsletter can work wonders.

What's next: If you're interested in this topic, join several local news organizations, including us, at 5pm Tuesday at 525 S. Meridian St., where VOX Indy and Chalkbeat are hosting a discussion about the future of local news.


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