The prospect of starting your own news site is more viable an option than ever in the current media climate. Traditional news organizations are plunging left and right, the tools for publishing are free and easy, and communities are finding a new desire to access and share information. In Berkeley, California, the circumstances were similar in 2009, which led a group of journalists to fill the need by starting their own dedicated site, Berkeleyside.

I recently did an email interview with Tracey Taylor (@tktaylor), a co-founder of Berkeley’s news startup, Berkeleyside, to find out what it takes to start your own news organization.

A few notable points from that exchange:

  • Berkeleyside was founded in October 2009 by Lance Knobel, Frances Dinkelspiel, and Tracey Taylor who all have backgrounds as editors and writers.
  • The site is run on WordPress
  • Their main revenue stream is advertising (and they’re starting to build membership revenue)
  • After 18 months of existence, the founders have only recently begun to pay themselves a “very modest monthly salary”
  • Berkelyside.com currently has 117,660 unique visitors monthly
  • The Berkeleyside iPhone app calls for user contributions by allowing community members to submit photos from the scene of news events
  • Three trips Taylor offers to others wanting to start a local news site: do it your way, keep it lean and be transparent

The following Q&A covers everything from inspiration for founding the site, to business challenges, to technical details, to tips for others wanting to start a news site. Read more