Founder, Lookout Local
Doctor was on the ISOJ 2022 panel “Recreating the local news ecosystem with new models, networking and collaboration.” Watch his presentation here.
Ken Doctor is a go-to analyst, speaker and consultant on news business models, through Newsonomics, his own company and website, and Harvard’s Nieman Journalism Lab. Extensively quoted in the press on the changing economics of the news business, Ken is a 21-year veteran of Knight Ridder Newspapers, having served in several executive and newsroom capacities. His focus has been on the emergence of national model successes and the perils of the local news emergency throughout the Western world. He has been focused on what works, and its application — from high-quality mobile products to reader revenue to branded content to the events businesses. Acting on that local news emergency, in late 2020, he founded and launched Lookout Local. “It’s my belief that we can bring the lessons of the Times, Post and Journal to the renaissance of the local press, at a smart, and profitable, scale. “We must change the conversation about what’s possible and necessary for our democracies in the 2020s.” Heading Lookout Local, he brings his expertise to bear on producing a first-of-its-kind, mobile-first, community-centric local news product. Among its initial funders are the Knight Foundation, Google News Innovation Challenge, The Lenfest Institute for Journalism and the Silicon Valley Community Foundation. Lookout Santa Cruz is the company’s first market. In 14 months, it has become a primary news service for its county of 265,000 people, surpassing audience, registration, membership and advertising goals, with a unique, community-betterment, blended mission and business model. Now, Lookout expands its staff, already the largest in the county, and launches its second wave locally, which includes providing free, donor-paid access for the county’s high school and college students. Its third wave will focus on expansion to other markets.