Today we are proud to introduce the Cortland Voice, an online-only news site devoted to reporting on the city of Cortland and Cortland County. You can check out the live site here: CortlandVoice.com.
Like the Ithaca Voice, the Cortland Voice will be free, independent, timely, in-depth and hyperlocal. It will seek to tell the stories of Cortland as we have sought to tell the stories of Ithaca — with fairness, transparency and care.
Pete Blanchard, a former anchor and reporter at WHCU Radio, is the site’s founder and editor. Blanchard is a natural leader, a talented writer and — above all — an honest person. He will excel in the role.
The Ithaca Voice was launched on June 15, 2014, because we thought there was a need in the Ithaca community for a news site that met the demands of 21st Century readers.
We were right. IthacaVoice.com now has the highest web traffic ranking in the local news market, draws tens of thousands of visitors a week and provides an unparalleled value to businesses in the form of Advertising Director Mike Blaney’s videos. Last month, we announced that we had hired Jolene Almendarez, a reporter, as our third full-time employee.
The experiment that is the Ithaca Voice is far from finished. But we’re confident enough in the basic foundation of our model — free, non-profit news supported by high-quality video ads — to think it could take off elsewhere, too. When Blanchard said he was interested in bringing our approach to online news to Cortland, we jumped at the opportunity.
So, how will this work? We took a stab at preemptively answering some of your questions about the Cortland Voice.
(As always, feel free to reach me at email@example.com if you have any questions we missed about the Cortland Voice and/or the Ithaca Voice.)
1 – Why start the Cortland Voice?
The Internet has radically transformed how readers want to learn about the world around them, and newspapers have often struggled to adapt.
That’s a major problem. It’s a problem in part because our cities need as many people as possible actively discussing and debating the key issues of the day. It’s also a problem because newspapers won’t be able to continue their essential work unless they can find a successful business model for the digital age.
This was why we started the Ithaca Voice, and we think our efforts have been well-received. Now, we want to expand that early success — and coverage of local institutions — into the Cortland market.
2 – How will this affect the Ithaca Voice?
The Ithaca Voice will remain closely focused on Ithaca, and you can continue to see the vast, vast majority of stories pertain to Ithaca and Tompkins County.
If anything, the Cortland Voice will expand our ability to cover Ithaca. Our readers are sometimes interested in big stories coming out of Cortland, but to cover them we need to pull our small staff off of Ithaca news. With the Cortland Voice and Ithaca Voice partners able to post the stories of the other, that should no longer be a problem.
We also believe some stories will be of interest to both publications’ readers, given that many people who live in one community work or have family in the other.
3 – Does this mean you’re becoming a regional publication?
No, no and no. The Ithaca Voice will be funded by Ithaca area advertisers and appeal directly to Ithaca-based readers. The Cortland Voice will be funded by Cortland area advertisers and appeal directly to Cortland-based readers.
4 – How is this being funded?
The Ithaca Voice is providing a small amount of seed funding to let Blanchard start the business.
Ultimately, however, the Cortland Voice will only exist if it is able to fund its own operations. The Cortland Voice and Ithaca Voice are going to have their own budgets and own staff, though they will share the same general approach to news, the same general business model and the same ultimate mission.
— Jeff Stein | Editor
— Mike Blaney | Advertising Director
— Jolene Almendarez | Reporter