TAPinto, franchised local news portal born in New Providence, turns 15

Believed to be only franchise model for local news in U.S., TAPinto has proven its sustainability and scalability

Editor’s note: Yes, this is a story about another local media company — one that could be considered a “competitor” to ROI-NJ. We don’t see that way. We support all media and hope you will, too.

TAPinto, the New Jersey-born media company that dubs itself the only franchise model for local news in the U.S., celebrates its 15th birthday Monday — and does so with record traffic and revenue, founder and owner Michael Shapiro said.

TAPinto, which began as an online news site just for New Providence, is now a network of more than 95 franchised online local news and digital marketing platforms in New Jersey, New York, Florida and Pennsylvania.

Shapiro said the majority of TAPinto franchisees are women and nearly 15% of TAPinto owner/publishers are African American. In August, TAPinto saw more than 2.2 million readers and now has more than 340,000 Facebook followers and 235,000 daily newsletter subscribers.

One of the only 100% advertising-based local news models in the country, TAPinto has proven itself resilient, sustainable and scalable, at a time when foundations and others are searching for such a model to help save local news.

Shapiro is both thrilled and stunned by its growth.

“I never imagined TAPinto would grow to become one of the largest networks of local news providers in the United States,” he said. “I am especially proud of the hard work and dedication of our franchisees, editors and reporters, as well as our corporate staff, who have caused TAPinto to become a leader in local news.”

Each TAPinto site is independent, yet interdependent, enabling TAPinto franchisees to provide high-quality, objective original local news reporting for their community while having the ability to seamlessly share content with each other and create an interwoven advertising network.

TAPinto’s award-winning journalists are consistently honored and recognized by the New Jersey Society of Professional Journalists, the Center for Cooperative Media, the Garden State Journalism Association and the New York Press Association, among others.

Shapiro counts his blessings on TAPinto’s birthday.

“I am very thankful to our nearly 1,000 advertisers that enable TAPinto to provide original local news reporting in more than 125 communities every day with no paywall for our readers,” he said.