In the latest challenge to local newspapers, tech entrepreneur Neil Senturia is aiming to turn his hyperlocal San Diego News Network into a national news outfit. Senturia plans to raise $40
million to bring his brand of local news to 40 U.S. and Canadian cities in the next few years.
At an average of $1 million per site, that would be news on the cheap. Each city
edition will belong to Senturia's U.S. Local News Network, which will manage sites as they power up. This year Senturia launched news hubs in San Diego and Riverside, Calif. A third, covering Orange
County, will go live in the next 90 days. The local sites carry breaking news, sports, lifestyle and entertainment stories.
Senturia launched SDNN in March, taking on the struggling San Diego Union-Tribune. The start-up's annual budget of about $1 million pays for 16 full-timers (some are former Union-Tribune staffers), aided by 23 freelancers and 12 bloggers. "Our cost structure is going to be tough for newspapers to beat," says Senturia.