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Suburban news pubs headed for more mailboxes

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A chain of “hyper-local” community newsletters has entered four more Indianapolis-area suburbs and plans to launch in Greenwood, its 10th market, in June.

Locally based TownePost Media Network licenses its format to publishers in each community. It provides a network of writers, layout assistance and other support services for the newsletters that it says reach more than 100,000 central Indiana readers each month.

Focused primarily on northern suburbs, TownePost licensees recently launched newsletters for Broad Ripple, Lawrence, Noblesville and the Morse Reservoir area. Publications for Fishers and Zionsville began circulating last year. TownePost also counts a newsletter in Center Grove, which will make the upcoming Greenwood publication its second south of Indianapolis.

Fishers townepost 15colThe Fishers newsletter launched in early 2013 under licensees Laurie and Matt Quinn. (Image courtesy TownePost Media Network)

TownePost was created a decade ago by Tom Britt, a veteran of specialty publishing and marketing. He also once hosted the “weekend update” on WZPL-FM 99.5’s "Smiley Morning Show."

Britt’s first effort was targeted at the wealthy bedroom community of Geist, northeast of Indianapolis. Even after TownePost expanded into other communities, the estimated annual average income of its readers is $114,000, compared with the state average of $44,000.

Stories typically range from coverage of economic development initiatives to profiles of local celebrities, business people, politicians and successful students.

“We kind of carved the niche early on of being hyper-local. We’re looking at a very myopic view of just that community,” said Britt. “That’s been our secret sauce for 10 years.“

Most of the distribution is via direct mail, with about 10 percent of the publications available at retailers such as CVS, Kroger and Marsh Supermarkets.

Britt said he sees a vacuum in the market, with the shrinkage of suburban coverage by some mainline newspapers such as The Indianapolis Star and specialized publications once offered by parent Gannett Co. Inc.

The newsletters, which have evolved over the years to appear more magazine-like, were formerly printed on glossy paper that give them an upscale look. Recently, the design was toned down to a matte finish, a trend now more common in the magazine world.

Britt also created website versions and apps for each newsletter, along with video content and the usual feeds via social media channels.

Britt is contemplating expansion. He wants to expand TownePost's reach to cities around the Midwest with extensive suburbs.

His licensees are often businesspeople who know their communities and are able to drum up their own ad sales.

Laurie and Matt Quinn, of Fishers, were in other lines of work before becoming licensees for the Fishers newsletter, which launched in early 2013. Laurie Quinn is chief publisher, and grew the newsletter such that her husband, Matt, left his 80-hour-a-week job to pitch in.

“It’s gotten so big I’m helping her,” he said of his new boss.

“There’s an awful lot of economic development news in Fishers right now,” he said, as well as compelling stories to tell about schools and not-for-profits.

The publications appeal to potential advertisers who don’t have a big marketing budget but might justify an ad that reaches the right person just down the street.

“As print, Internet and video media converge locally, we’re positioning ourselves to be a news and small business promotional conduit for the communities we serve,” Britt has said of Townepost's strategy in marketing materials.

Correction: An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated that John and Ann Craig-Cinnamon publish the Carmel newsletter. They did at one time, but no longer do.

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  • Ann Craig-Cinnamon
    She is now the Managing Editor of Current in Fishers.
  • No Carmel Licensee
    John and Ann Craig-Cinnamon have not been involved with the Carmel newsletter for nearly six months.

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  1. I think the poster was being sarcastic and only posting or making fun of what is usually posted on here about anything being built in BR or d'town for that matter.

  2. Great news IRL fans: TURBO the IMS sanctioned movie about slugs running the Indy 500 has caught the Securities and Exchange Commission because Dreamworks had to take a $132MILLION write down...because the movie was such a flop. See, the Indy/IMS magic soiled another pair of drawers. Bwahahahahahaha! How's CARTOWN doing? HAHAHAHA...Indy is for losers.

  3. So disappointed in WIBC. This is the last straw to lose a good local morning program. I used to be able to rely on WIBC to give me good local information, news, weather and traffic on my 45 minute commute.Two incidents when I needed local, accurate information regarding severe weather were the first signs I could not now rely on WIBC. I work weekend 12 hour nights for a downtown hospital. This past winter when we had the worst snowfall in my 50 years of life, I came home on a Sunday morning, went to sleep (because I was to go back in Sunday night for another 12 hour shift), and woke up around 1 p.m. to a house with no electricity. I keep an old battery powered radio around and turned on WIBC to see what was going on with the winter storm and the roads and the power outage. Sigh. Only policital stuff. Not even a break in to update on the winter storm warning. The second weather incident occurred when I was driving home during a severe thunderstorm a few months ago. I had already gotten a call from my husband that a tornado warning was just southwest of where I had been. I turned to WIBC to find out what direction the storm was headed so I could figure out a route home, only to find Rush on the air, and again, no breaking away from this stupidity to give me information. Thank God for my phone, which gave me the warning that I was driving in an area where a tornado was seen. Thanks for nothing WIBC. Good luck to you, Steve! We need more of you and not the politics of hatred that WIBC wants to shove at us. Good thing I have Satellite radio.

  4. I read the retail roundup article and tried Burritos and Beers tonight. I'm glad I did, for the food was great. Fresh authentic Mexican food. Great seasoning on the carne asada. A must try!!! Thanks for sharing.

  5. John, unfortunately CTRWD wants to put the tank(s) right next to a nature preserve and at the southern entrance to Carmel off of Keystone. Not exactly the kind of message you want to send to residents and visitors (come see our tanks as you enter our city and we build stuff in nature preserves...

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