CNATI web site adds independent, local sports reporting voice to city

Sports is big news in Cincinnati, being home to pro football and baseball teams, rising college programs and scores of high school teams.

Yet, in past few years, the number of local and regional media outlets covering these teams has dwindled as newspapers and radio stations cut back on staff and travel.

But a trio of seasoned reporters, led by former Cincinnati Post Reds beat writer C. Trent Rosecrans, is working to reverse that trend.

Rosecrans, along with former Columbus Dispatch reporter Scott Priestle and former Albany Herald (Ga.) reporter Paul Dehner Jr. have launched, a local Web site that covers games and sports news across Cincinnati. Rosencrans' friend Lee Heidel, owner of Heidel Design in Savannah, Ga., operates the technical portion of the site.

Rosecrans started CNATI in early 2009 after The Cincinnati Post closed at the end of 2007, after he was subsequently laid off from a web writing job for Clear Channel.

"There are no jobs in media right now, nobody's hiring. I could sit around and complain, or try to do something else," Rosecrans explained. "What I am trying to do is starting from the ground up. These are people who know this scene. I've lived here for six years now, and have only lived one place longer in my life. This is my home now, and I want to stay here and be part of this community."

Priestle and Dehner are originally from the Cincinnati area.

Currently the site covers news related to the Bengals, the Reds, UC and Xavier sports. The writers have covered home and away games, (including the recent Sugar Bowl) as well as day to-day-news. Rosecrans often offers real time commentary during games via CNATI's Twitter account. 

The site pulls in more than 13,000 unique visitors a week, and 67 percent of its traffic is repeat visitor traffic. One-fourth of those readers return 50 to 200 times a week to read frequently updated content.

Rosecrans is looking for advertisers to help fund the site, which he described now as a labor of love. He's also relying on readers, who he believes are willing to pay for quality, original, independent content.

In an experiment, he's currently asking readers to contribute $4,000 for a six-week trip to Reds spring training in Arizona. He's asked for secure donations on his web site, and has already raised more than half of what he needs.

"I have just been blown away by the response, that tells advertisers how engaged and loyal those readers are," Rosecrans said.

Writer: Feoshia Henderson
Source: CNati founder C. Trent Rosecrans
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