Hello Chappaqua! Your new online news team welcomes you to TheDailyChappaqua, your round-the-clock source for local news and information. You’re joining 31 other communities in Westchester County that also gained sites of their own today. It’s the largest media launch of its kind in the nation, backed by the national community news company, Main Street Connect.
Main Street Connect (MSC, for short) was founded in December 2009 by Westchester native Carll Tucker, former editor and publisher of Trader Publications based in Cross River, NY. The company unveiled its first site, TheDailyNorwalk, in March 2010,and expanded rapidly to 10 communities in Fairfield County – Darien, Easton, Fairfield, Greenwich, New Canaan, Norwalk, Stamford, Weston, Westport and Wilton. Collectively, they passed 1 million visits after just 10 months and are seen by more than 60 percent of the households in the communities they cover. “It was an overwhelming response,” Tucker says. Last week, MSC purchased Central Mass News, with nine sites in the Worcester area, including TheDailyGrafton.
In Westchester, MSC’s coverage extends from the Sound Shore communities of New Rochelle and Rye, to the Hudson River villages of Dobbs Ferry and Tarrytown, to the northern hills of Bedford and North Salem. Check TheDailyWestchester for the full list. We have 30 reporters and editors covering news, which makes us one of the largest journalistic staffs in the county. Many of us worked at newspapers or radio stations in the Westchester-Fairfield area, or grew up here.
Who’s your reporter? Mike Esposito. You’ll see him at civic meetings, charity events, celebrations and just tooling around town. If you stop and chat, he’ll come away with a story.
Two deeply experienced reporters from the Gannett Journal News are following sports – high school teams, youth leagues and recreational sports. Both are Westchester natives. Danny LoPriore reported and edited at the paper for 14 years. Tony Pinciaro’s career at Gannett covered 17 years. In 2009, the Rockland County Wrestling Coaches Association presented Tony with its Lifetime Achievement award.
Chappaqua’s regional managing editor, Sue Guzman, is a 30-year news veteran and lifelong Westchester resident. Most recently, she led the Westchester Bureau for WHUD Radio. Previously, she anchored the news for Imus-in-the-Morning and 1010 WINS radio.
Besides civic news, Mike, Sue and the rest of our MSC team will be covering schools, events, real estate, local businesses, health, food, home and gardening, autos and the neighbors whose stories you’d like to read. For what’s new, first thing in the morning, use the Home Page “Sign Up” box, to register for our daily email blasts. We, and your neighbors, look forward to reading any facts you have to add to a story, or your reactions to it, in the Comments box at the end of each item.
TheDailyChappaqua is your site, designed to fit your needs. Get in touch with us, anytime, about news that you think needs covering, questions you have or opinions you want to share. You can send your tips directly to Mike by clicking on the Home Page box headed “We Want to Hear From You.” That takes you to our “Get Involved” page, where you can also give us the ideas you have for new features or for improving the existing ones. Tell us about your upcoming events and we’ll post them on our “Chappaqua Week Ahead” calendar. Our soon-to-arrive Voices Page will welcome personal opinion articles. A Local Advisory Board of engaged Chappaqua residents will meet regularly with our editorial staff to suggest ideas and provide feedback. If you’d like to join, let Mike know.
Mike also holds active conversations with users on our Facebook and Twitter sites. Look us up, Like us, tell your friends and neighbors about us and Follow our Tweets. We’ll be following and retweeting you.
Tucker describes TheDailyChappaqua as a “digital town green,” where neighbors come together to find out what’s going on, share their news and information, and have a good time. ”Our advertising tagline is ‘Come Home,’” he says. “We’re returning to the roots of local news and reviving the concept of the hometown newspaper – this time, in a digital format.”
The business model for Main Street Connect goes beyond traditional banner advertising. Local and regional businesses are offered Annual Visibility Programs, or AVPs, which include many unique features. For example, Local Hero honors a local resident, nominated by the advertiser, who serves the community. The feature, Our Customer Comes First, gives advertisers an opportunity to salute individual customers. Also, they can suggest an editorial profile about a neighbor who works in the business.
“Our AVP program is doing exceptionally well in Fairfield County,” Tucker said, “and is getting an enthusiastic greeting in Westchester.” Businesses know that their customers are moving online, he said. “AVPs are the best marketing plan for local and regional advertisers ever invented in any medium. We’re displaying products and services directly to the people most likely to use them.”
Joining Tucker on the MSC management team is an impressive lineup that includes: President and Chief Operating Office John Falcone, Managing Editor Carl Lavin and Editorial Director, Jane Bryant Quinn. Falcone was Senior Vice President Mobile Network at SmartReply, where he led the team that transformed the company into the largest SMS mobile advertising network in the nation. Lavin, an experienced newsroom executive, spent two decades at the New York Times directing news coverage on various topics. Most recently, he held a top job at Forbes.com. Quinn is one of the nation’s leading commentators on personal finance. She has written columns for Newsweek magazine, Bloomberg.com and the Washington Post, and appeared regularly on the CBS Morning and Evening News programs.
Two managing editors supervise coverage in other parts of the county. Tony Davenport has three decades of journalistic experience under his belt, including directing coverage for the Gannett Westchester papers when that newsroom dominated the county. Debra West served on the Editorial Board of the Journal News, researching and writing editorials on important county issues. She also wrote for the Westchester edition of the New York Times.
Our assistant editors, Andrea Graziano, Peter Moses, Carli-Rae Panny and Rick Pezzullo, also have deep local roots – Andrea at the Journal News, Peter as co-founder of the Westchester Eye (and New York Post reporter), Carli covering news and political scandals in Putnam County and Rick at the North County News. Award-winning writer Julie Curtis heads our four-person features team. Her work has appeared on television on “Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous,” as well as in many magazines.
The MSC sales team in Westchester County is led by three Associate Publishers. Anne Ring comes to us from Westchester Magazine, where she was Business Development Manager. Jon Plesser headed sales for Pamal Broadcasting, owner of WHUD and 107.1 The Peak. Cathleen Stack was vice president of online marketing for the real estate company, Houlihan Lawrence, and a vice president of RISMedia, a national real estate media company. Our Regional Sales Managers include Nyna Giles, Donna Herman, Kathy DeSilva and Lynne Starr.
Tucker has a single mission for Main Street Connect: “Creating community news sites that are as excellent and as profitable as the great community newspapers of the past.” We look forward to sharing your stories on TheDailyChappaqua from this day on. Thank you for joining us!