Introducing Texting Baltimore: Chat with Technical.ly's Stephen Babcock about local news - Technical.ly Baltimore

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Aug. 10, 2020 9:50 am

Introducing Texting Baltimore: Chat with Technical.ly’s Stephen Babcock about local news

Sign up to get text messages from Assistant Editor Stephen Babcock about the local happenings in Baltimore. It's a partnership between Technical.ly, daily local newsletter Baltimorning and messaging service Subtext.
Stephen Babcock is leading Texting Baltimore.

Stephen Babcock is leading Texting Baltimore.

(Technical.ly file photo)

Hey, wanna tell me what you think about Baltimore?

There’s a new way to keep in touch. Texting Baltimore is opening up the lines for all the chatter about what’s happening in town. Sign up, and you’ll get text messages from this reporter with info about headlines before they land here, and some of the bigger issues shaping Baltimore. Plus, you can reply to keep me honest, and help give me a better look at what people really think.

Sign up for a free trial

So, who the heck is “this reporter?” Well, let’s take down the walls a bit. After all, we’ll be on a texting basis. I’ve been with Technical.ly Baltimore as a reporter covering tech, entrepreneurship and economic change locally for five years. Over the last couple years I picked up some additional duties helping to shape our coverage throughout the Mid-Atlantic as assistant editor.

Heads up: This isn’t just about tech. It’s about Baltimore as a whole. For the last three years, I’ve written a daily email newsletter that rounds up the day’s local happenings and events called Baltimorning. It’s a way to get local news happenings from reporters working at outlets all around town.  We’re launching Texting Baltimore as a partnership (aka revenue share) between Technical.ly and Baltimorning. It feels pretty good to bring my full-time job and side hustle together.

And I’m excited to have a way to have more side convos. We’re running this on Subtext, a platform which looks to have all the tools to keep things organized. It also provides a way to keep things anonymous on the user’s end, so you don’t have to tell a reporter your name if you don’t want to.

The idea behind Baltimorning was always to bring the folks who live and work in the city closer to the civic conversation, and text offers a way to talk about that one-on-one. We’ll text updates about how pandemic reopenings are progressing, or Under Armour’s latest moves. But there’s also room to talk about the big picture, like restructuring proposals at City Hall and how the city’s landscape is being reshaped. And I’ll send some tips about the latest from local celebs and artists. Here’s a look at one text I sent last week:

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We’re excited to get rolling, and initially we’re offering a 14-day trial to give some space to get acclimated. But I’ll be real: We’re charging $3 a month after that, and the idea here is to build a base of paid subscribers. In fact, the success of this little experiment will hinge on it. No matter what the format, getting the news out takes work, and we think that’s worth some compensation in return to help grow the thing. So, following some entrepreneurial best practices we’ve heard in our reporting, we’re putting a flag down and charging for a product, from the start.

The journalist in me always feels a bit weird talking about money, but if we want local news to survive, it’s becoming more apparent that we need to find new ways of creating not just great work, but value.

Or just think of this as a way to support the work that we do, and get a bit closer to the news in return. Here’s a bit more about how to sign up:

  1. You subscribe here with your cell phone number (it is completely anonymous unless you’re comfortable sharing your name).
  2.  You start receiving texts from me.
  3.  You weigh in (if you want to) and we start a conversation.

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