City Desk

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Want to know more about this colossal new local Web venture coming from the people who gave us Politico? Here are some questions and answers:

What's the name going to be?

No word on that just yet., after all, is just a joke. And this thing threatens us and the Examiner and everyone else in this market as much as it does the Post.

When will it launch?

Spring 2010 is the best guess of Jim Brady, who will serve as the outlet's general manager. As GM, Brady's duties will straddle the editorial and advertising dimensions of the biz.

What's the strategic thinking behind it?

Well, it's this: Brady and his co-brainstormers at Allbritton Communications took a look at the local media landscape and noticed something: All the big competitors for Web news in the region appear to have some legacy platform, like a newspaper or a TV station, that distracts them and keeps them from putting out the best possible Web product. In swoops, a balls-out site that has no such baggage and can go all-Web-all-the-time! Hold on, let me go and proof that cover story before moving on to the next question!

What about staffing?

A memo from mogul Robert Allbritton put the employees of at 50-plus. According to Brady, those will "mostly" consist of editorial talent, people that can really nail it day in and day out. But there'll be biz-side staffers as well as Web producers and so on.

It's a lot of people for a start-up in the middle of a general media crisis. Brady: "To win big, you gotta bet big."

What will this new beast cover?

In Brady's words: "We're going to pick and focus on areas relevant to people's daily lives—local entertainment, local sports and commuting and development and all of those local things—local politics....We're going to find niches of interest to local readers."

Oh shit, he just basically laid out the editorial focus of the Washington City Paper! (minus the commuting stuff, which we totally ignore) Maybe call it

Back to serious: Brady acknowledged that even with a robust staff, the region is too sprawling—too heavy with all kinds of "verticals"—to cover comprehensively and "win the day" in D.C., Loudoun, Arlington, Alexandria, Fairfax....

How is this thing ever going to fly if it doesn't have a paper edition to, like, actually bring in revenue?

Brady answers that question: "I'm still bullish on the fact that money is still going to move to Web...I think the money is there."

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