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Date Posted: 14:13:21 05/12/16 Thu
Author: Brady Bunch
Subject: Gannett-backed site launching in Pittsburgh

http://www.capitalnewyork.com/article/media/2016/05/8598995/spirited-media-prepares-launch-incline-pittsburgh

This is potentially very bad for the P-G and the Trib. If they're not worried, they should be. Brady has some serious media chops and Gannett funding.

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Replies:

[> Re: Gannett-backed site launching in Pittsburgh -- Decline, 11:01:27 05/13/16 Fri [1]

Yeah, it's bad. If I were the Upgruv team I'd be shaking in my boots since this Incline thing looks very similar. If I was at the P-G, well, they have enough problems already.

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[> Re: Gannett-backed site launching in Pittsburgh -- The Decline, 11:56:02 05/13/16 Fri [1]

Patch was well-funded, too.

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[> Re: Gannett-backed site launching in Pittsburgh -- CPA, 18:26:06 05/13/16 Fri [1]

Won't succeed unless it's affiliated with DK. DK rules the world, $1.50 at a time.

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[> Re: Gannett-backed site launching in Pittsburgh -- So inclined, 09:31:51 05/23/16 Mon [1]

here's who they're looking for http://billypenn.com/2016/05/23/the-incline-is-hiring-we-need-an-editor-reporters-and-a-sales-lead/

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[> [> Re: Gannett-backed site launching in Pittsburgh -- The Approaching Conquerers, 23:05:32 05/23/16 Mon [1]

Well, ya gotta admit their help wanted ads show creativity and solid writing.

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[> Re: Gannett-backed site launching in Pittsburgh -- Bingo Bob, 06:58:54 07/19/16 Tue [1]

A reporter with a total of four years of experience (but who also edited her college newspaper!) is a "veteran," it seems.

http://billypenn.com/2016/07/18/post-gazette-reporter-tapped-to-edit-the-incline/

This is an early swing and a miss by Brady, and doesn't bode well for the future of this little project. The old media can probably breathe a sigh of relief at this point.

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[> [> Re: Gannett-backed site launching in Pittsburgh -- The De-Cline, 20:14:18 07/19/16 Tue [1]

You hit it on the head, Bob. She's no journalism vet, that's for sure. At the PG she was just another Shrib-Kiddie hire. Can't blame her for leaving the listing mother-ship as it takes on more water. Of course her husband remains at the PG, at least until something else better comes along. Lots of that on North Shore Drive nowadays.

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[> [> Re: Gannett-backed site launching in Pittsburgh -- VFW (Veteran of Fancy Wordcraft), 06:32:19 07/20/16 Wed [1]

That's funny. I have 4 years of experience at dailies--more if you count stringing--but never considered myself a "veteran". Love the "off-the-cuff" press release weasel wordage from Lexi:

“Billy Penn quickly established itself as the leading innovator in smart, accessible and important local news coverage and reader engagement in Philadelphia,” says Lexi. “I’m honored and eager to bring the best of that model to The Incline, where we’ll be committed to telling Pittsburgh’s untold stories, making the rest easier to navigate and helping bring readers together.”

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[> [> [> Re: Gannett-backed site launching in Pittsburgh -- Vets' Newsroom, 21:57:51 07/20/16 Wed [1]

When it folds, as it likely will, she can apply at the Trib, BCT, Butler Eagle or Observer-Reporter. Oh, and there's the new Mon Valley Independent. "Veteran reporters" can always find a place to land.

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[> [> [> [> Re: Gannett-backed site launching in Pittsburgh -- Thank You for Your Service, 00:03:45 07/22/16 Fri [1]

Veteran? At 4 years most people just learned where the break room is.

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[> Re: Gannett-backed site launching in Pittsburgh -- Sheetz not Wawa, 07:43:48 08/04/16 Thu [1]

I don't think Brady has done enough homework to launch something like this in Pittsburgh. He barely knows the area at all. From what I hear, the interview process was a hot mess and they pissed off a lot of candidates. Plus they still haven't hired anyone but the young, inexperienced editor.

How can they possibly launch this summer, as they announced, with no staff?

Color me skeptical that a Philly-based company can build a successful sister publication in Pittsburgh. Their track record so far is not that impressive.

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[> Re: Gannett-backed site launching in Pittsburgh -- Scott Hartnell's Hair, 13:05:22 08/06/16 Sat [1]

So a Pittsburgh site with "branding" that resembles the Philadelphia Flyers' logo and colors. Did they not market-test this at all? Not saying everything in Pittsburgh has to be black and gold, but with this look they're going to be laughed out of town before they even launch.

https://medium.com/billy-penn/update-on-the-incline-we-have-a-logo-and-hq-46a4294cdb65#.8oaluwgru

And this part makes no sense:

"We apologize in advance to our neighbors. We’re loud and sometimes foul-mouthed but frequently fun and usually on the prowl for food.
And by “we,” we’re talking about the editorial and sales team we’re in the process of assembling, of course."

If you're still "assembling" the team, how do you know they're loud and foul-mouthed yet also fun? Gotta portray an edgy millennial image I guess.

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[> [> Re: Gannett-backed site launching in Pittsburgh -- Up the Down Incline, 00:08:01 08/08/16 Mon [1]

Sounds like the plural "we" might itself be an exaggeration.

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[> Re: Gannett-backed site launching in Pittsburgh -- Charles Foster Kane, 00:35:22 08/09/16 Tue [1]

"Six people will be hired to staff the site initially, said Jim Brady, the CEO of Spirited Media."

Geez, what does it say if two established metros with scores of journalists and up to 200+ years of institutional experience in journalism truly need to fear an upstart website with a half-dozen people?

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[> Re: Gannett-backed site launching in Pittsburgh -- Dee Cee, 18:05:45 08/11/16 Thu [1]

Too bad there were no Pittsburgh reporters available to be the first ever reporter curator at this new blog.

https://medium.com/billy-penn/the-incline-hires-first-reporter-curator-sarah-anne-hughes-c9895ea88a74#.7c84c1psm

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[> [> Re: Gannett-backed site launching in Pittsburgh -- Title Bout, 10:52:30 08/12/16 Fri [1]

"Curator" suggests this will be nothing more than a local Huffington Re-post.

Some might suggest that a more apropo title within the dying 'burgh media would be reporter/coroner.

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[> [> Re: Gannett-backed site launching in Pittsburgh -- Bet reporter, 22:04:49 08/12/16 Fri [1]

from someone who likes to think they have a little bit of insight here, I can't necessarily disagree with anything anyone is saying. Lexi doesn't have the experience of a veteran reporter, nor does she have the contacts that a startup like this requires (a two years of night cops and a year or so at city Hall doesn't really help much).

That being said, I don't think a veteran reporter would be the best candidate for this job. It's not the usual grind. It requires creativity, being on the cutting edge as well as the intangibles that someone with more experience wouod bring.

Billy Penn does pretty well for itself in Philly (remember, it's more about the advertising than the content), so as long as it remains somewhat relevant it should be ok.

Ninety-percent of City Paper's content hasn't been worth reading for the last five years but it hasn't folded. Why couldn't The Incline follow suit?

In a few years, maybe she'll surprise us all, who knows?

The unknown of this startup is probably no better than the unknown at the PG or the Trib, and no one was giving her the executive editor position at either of those rags.

So good for Lexi. I wish her the best.

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[> [> [> Re: Gannett-backed site launching in Pittsburgh -- Report Beater, 06:37:53 08/14/16 Sun [1]

Billy Penn mustn't have been able to afford Mila Sanina, who quit the PG to run Publicsource. Billy Penn needed an editor to run the Incline. Instead of putting out the money to hire somebody local and prestigious they hire Lexi, who doesn't exactly sit in the top ten of local journalism. Let's see how it works out. I wouldn't bet on any of these entities including Publicsource being here in three years or so.

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[> Re: Gannett-backed site launching in Pittsburgh -- Brady Bust, 07:51:04 08/19/16 Fri [1]

This blog has now hired its third white female and its second non-Pittsburgher:
https://medium.com/billy-penn/the-incline-hires-reporter-curator-mj-slaby-d923c58f89c9

It has yet to identify its mission or differentiate itself from the ever more crowded media field in Pittsburgh. Late summer launch? It's mid-August on my calendar.
And not to sound parochial but what the hell are Brady & Co. doing? Do they think Pittsburghers are dying to hear from out of town hipsters about how great Pittsburgh is?

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[> [> Re: Gannett-backed site launching in Pittsburgh -- Special K, 19:27:47 08/19/16 Fri [1]

I had the same thought as you upon seeing this news.

With all the talent our two main local dailies have shed recently, it's not like there's a lack of qualified Pittsburgh-based journalists.

It almost made me wonder if they were making a point of not hiring former PGers (other than Lexi) or Trib folks .

I am also curious if Lexi is making these hiring decisions or if this is coming from the Philly folks?

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[> [> Re: Gannett-backed site launching in Pittsburgh -- No life experience necessary, 06:30:35 08/22/16 Mon [1]

The two young professional journalism women plan to live on the South Side and in Lawrenceville, respectively, with their boyfriends and pets. They're coming to town from D.C. (alt weekly editor) and Knoxville (education reporter). Chief Lexi and her boyfriend (Trib's Adam Smeltz) live in the Mexican War Streets. It's offices are in the former Allegheny Center, now Nova Place. Apologies if this is a stale assessment, but this project looks to be shaping up as competition for City Paper, not an alternative to the PG/Trib.

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[> [> [> Re: Gannett-backed site launching in Pittsburgh -- Caper McPaper, 00:08:46 08/23/16 Tue [1]

So, who will train these callow tykes in how to pretend they know the Burgh? Lexi? That's a joke. She was never that good at the PG. Targeting City Paper (and not UpGruv) requires reporters willing to adopt the alt. weekly posture of acting cooler and more knowledgeable than everyone else, even when they don't know much. Honestly, I don't know if I'd want to piss away a dime aiming writers at the toothless tiger that is Pittsburgh City Paper (a.k.a. "The Wednesday Waste"). Their main audience consists of liberal activists and artsy types. Their other audience: artists, graffiti painters, songwriters, poets, filmmakers who want publicity and have struck out trying to interest the PG and Trib.

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[> [> [> [> Re: Gannett-backed site launching in Pittsburgh -- Point of order, 11:07:01 08/23/16 Tue [1]

Belcufine and Smeltz have been married since last fall, and he moved from The Trib to the P-G more than a year ago.
But I do agree with the question: How will these outsiders fit in? It's going to take quite a while for them to build up sources and traction, and I wonder how long Billy Penn will have patience.

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[> [> [> [> [> Re: Gannett-backed site launching in Pittsburgh -- The simple answerer, 04:46:25 08/24/16 Wed [1]

The ultimate slogan to understanding why Billy Penn hires less experienced outsiders.

"Kids trying to stay employed in the imploding newspaper business can be hired cheap."

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