After seven years in operation, Pegasus News, the hyperlocal news site in Dallas, is about to get its plug pulled by the Dallas Morning News. According to two sources who asked not to be named, the site will be swallowed up by the newspaper's GuideLive site, with a splashy cover-up/re-launch slated to unfurl within the next week or two.
Pegasus launched in December 2006 as an Internet-based alternative to conventional media. In its earliest days, it earned a following among Dallas musicians for its listings of local bands and clubs. Operating with a tiny staff, it got the majority of its editorial content from blogs such as GreenSource DFW and The Column, with whom the site shared an unusual "content partnership" arrangement, i.e., let us repost your stories for free and, in return, you may net some extra traffic.
In 2007, the site was bought by Seattle-based Fisher Communications, a media company that owned television and radio stations (which has since been acquired by Sinclair Communications). In 2009, Fisher sold Pegasus to radio station company Gap Broadcasting.
In July 2012, Pegasus News was acquired by the Dallas Morning News. The speculation was that the newspaper wanted Pegasus' database of restaurant and event listings:
Translation: Guide Live, the newspaper's floundering attempt to do event and entertainment listings, is sucking wind. So, rather than putting in the time and energy and smarts necessary to make it suck less, the Morning News just bought up some existing listings instead.
This theory was supported by the fact that short-term employment contracts were offered to all of the employees, with the exception of the dining editor, who happened to be me.
None of the content partners contacted for this story have been notified by Pegasus of the imminent shutdown.
In recent weeks, the site's few remaining employees have been absorbed into the newspaper staff or, in the case of database entry wizard Todd Maternowski, let go. Maternowski's relentless, frequently nocturnal entry of concert listings and other events served as the site's bedrock.
The Morning News reported in December 2013 that its parent corporation, A.H. Belo, was trying to sell off the Providence Journal in Rhode Island, following its sale of the Press Enterprise in Riverside, California, in November. The company still owns the Denton Record-Chronicle.
A spokesperson for the company was unavailable for comment.