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Village Media makes first foray into U.S.

Sault online media company establishing news platform in Youngstown, Ohio
Village Media sign

Village Media of Sault Ste. Marie is expanding into the U.S. for the first time.

The digital news media company is working to launch an online presence Youngstown, Ohio where that community is losing its only daily newspaper, The Vindicator, on Aug.31.

In providing the platform and consulting services, Village Media is working with the Google News Initiative and McClatchy, owners of 30 media companies in 14 states.

“It is an exciting time as Village Media announces our first expansion into the US market,” Village Media CEO Jeff Elgie announced on LinkedIn. “And it's a big one!”

The group is working on an initiative called The Compass Experiment, a three-year effort to explore sustainable business models for local news and information in U.S. markets that have limited sources of local, independent journalism.

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Mandy Jenkins, general manager of the Compass Experiment, said in a statement on LinkedIn that they were looking for a partner and found “kindred spirits” in Elgie and his crew.

“The Village Media platform is appealing because it is purpose-built for local news operations like ours. Their sites are fast, mobile browser responsive and easy to navigate, and also include features such as classifieds, obituaries, autos, auctions and voluntary pay.”

Village Media began as a ‘hyperlocal’ digital news site in the Sault and has expanded across Canada with 11 owned-and-operated sites and 15 partner sites.

They’ve moved into markets where the local newspaper have closed shop and have quickly launched new digital sites employing reporters from that community.

“This is why we are confident we will be able to launch the Youngstown site in the next 60 days,” said Jenkins.

“In the meantime, we are finalizing hires for our local and central teams, talking with local readers and building out other elements of our strategy.”