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Downsized Herald Assistant Features Editor Teresa Mears is the mastermind behind the South Florida contingent of the Cities On The Cheap blog network. This is a group of independently owned and operated hyperlocal deal aggregators focused on specific cities throughout the U.S.
Teresa's blogs officially launched just a couple of weeks ago, but the collective's Craigslistian expansion model, and high-interest local content could mean big things for Teresa and her company. (By the way, it seems to us she wrote a story for New Times back in the day, too.
In plain English, each blog post tells you about a pocket friendly meal, activity, service or the like. People like deals, savings, and free stuff. Cities On The Cheap tells you where to get them. Teresa, yer smart.
I spoke to Teresa via phone, here's what she had to say. Here also are links to her blogs.
I belong to an online newsletter called Freelance Success. The founder of the first Cities On The Cheap blog is up in Atlanta and she said "well anybody can do it." A lot of people got excited about it so we decided to work together and form the network.
The official launch was about 2 weeks ago, but I created my first blog in late January. I'm 52 years old. I had never worked online before at all...just kind of kept clicking on things till I got the desired results.
I don't know how much money we'll make off it. Everybody has to economize. I'm making a freelance living like a lot of other people, but you still wanna enjoy life. There's lots of free stuff that's interesting in South Florida, or if you go to a restaurant at a certain time you can still get a great a meal.
I've kind of always been into social networking. I was on Compuserve in the early 90's. I didn't join Facebook till after I left the Herald because I needed more contacts for freelance. I've met interesting people and found out about interesting blogs.
I like paper and I like the web, and I think they both have a role. What's most important is the reporting, and sorting, and making it easy to find. I get The Herald everyday, the New York Times on Sunday, I read the New Times in print and New Times blogs online. Daily and weekly newspapers give you the news of the day and just kind of say, "here it is" and if you're interested you can find more online. The web does make it easier for somebody like me to be a publisher, the cost to starting is much cheaper if you don't have paper.
I'm not looking for free stuff from companies. I come from a hardcore journalism background. I think it would be unethical. I only take advantage of the same deals that the public takes advantage of. Every community has a lot of things that you can do for free and I'm hoping for people to take advantage of that. It's not that hard to find deals, there's as many as I have time to write.