Washington-based Allbritton Communications is relaunching WJLA.com as a local and regional news site today. Its sister site, former hyperlocal news site TBD.com, also gets a new look today.
Allbritton Communications is giving up on its efforts to reinvent local news for the online era. Washington, D.C., local news site TBD is laying off at least 12 staffers — eliminating most of its news staff. Editor Erik Wemple told Washington City Paper, “TBD will become a niche site on arts and entertainment. We are building out a big new presence on WJLA.com.”
Terry Heaton: “While I’ve always been a fan of community portals, I’ve been outspoken about letting the TV station keep its own brand-extension site, for the reasons Albritton is now stating. Local media companies need sites to which they can refer and have those sites associated with their brands. Community portals should be stand alone businesses, and it’s sad to see something as far along as TBD.com lose its hard-fought footing in trying to accomplish something it never should have been expected to accomplish in the first place.”
Allbritton Communications will reorganize its fledgling local news site, TBD.com, by naming a new boss for the operation, WJLA GM Bill Lord, and restoring the Newschannel 8 name to the cable news channel it rebranded as TBD TV last summer.
The D.C. news site TBD.com, which is the online arm of Allbritton’s WJLA, announced yesterday that it will stop serving ads on partner blogs in its community network. The move is a bit of a surprise since several TV station and newspaper groups are pursuing community sales networks in other markets.