Where the journalists aren’t: the Marketplaces/Drilling Down on Local conference, a gathering of industry execs and venture investors. The “how do we make money on local” question that is generally the conversation ender at journalism confabs is the conversation beginner at this gathering, where the first panels are stocked with venture investors talking about what they will — and will not fund, and what they expect to get back, and why.

The tone — and the dress code — are totally different than those you might find at ONA or Poynter. I’m in stealth mode. (Don’t tell anyone: I’m wearing a suit. I actually did drycleaning for this).

Are there some answers here? I’m going to try to find out. What I do find, I’ll report back here.

My sense? I may not hear the word “newsroom” or “community” once — but I’ll hear and see a lot of hard numbers about online advertising and local search. That’s critical in a week where the Seattle P-I is going web only. Folks at the Nieman Lab say they think that it will take $5M in annual ad revenue to sustain the remaining 40 folk employed there. What I’ll try to find out here: is that realistic?

I’ll post a recap once the activities have concluded here, but if you want to follow along — or get your own perspective into the room, feel free to follow me on Twitter, where I’m @lisawilliams.

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