Route 40 is a web-based local journalism startup covering South Jersey, with a particular emphasis on fresh reporting on Atlantic City and its surrounding towns.
It’s currently run as a part-time effort* by Elinor Comlay and Bill Sprouse, two reporters each with more than ten years’ experience writing and editing the news.
Elinor is a native of Portsmouth, England. Prior to moving to South Jersey, she was a foreign correspondent for Reuters in Mexico City for five years. Her reporting has appeared in the New York Times, The Guardian, the Chicago Tribune, International Herald Tribune, Yahoo! News and the U.K. Daily Mail.
Bill grew up in Atlantic County (Atlantic City and then Egg Harbor Township) and has written for a variety of financial-news publications. He’s also the author of The Domestic Life of the Jersey Devil, a history of every South Jerseyan’s favorite piece of folklore.
Bill and Elinor hope Route 40 will tie together communities from the beach to the suburbs of Philadelphia and beyond, giving readers engaging stories, incisive analysis and impactful journalism that will inspire engagement and hold local leaders accountable.
*Route 40’s running costs are funded by reader contributions, with some revenue from advertising, events and merchandise sales. Our revenue is not yet enough to pay our salaries, however – we both work full time as freelance journalists. Donations to Route 40 are welcome here, or you could also become a Route 40 Member and get access to exclusive offers from our local business partners. If you’re interested in advertising, contact sales(at)rtforty.com
What We Stand For
The disruption of the advertising market and the sea change the Internet brought to the publishing industry has left many large-scale news companies struggling to cover their costs. As many have folded or been sold off, smaller, online-only startups have sprung up in their place. Some of these are non-profit. Some are set up as small businesses (as we are). You can find out more about these news organizations in New Jersey via Montclair State University’s Center for Cooperative Media, of which we are also a member.
One of the drawbacks to being a newcomer in the news publishing world is that people often ask us what we are about. Who do you work for? Where do your stories come from? What are your views? Following the lead of an online publication called the Voice of San Diego (thanks and credit), we are laying out what we stand for, in an effort to be as transparent as possible.
- Open and transparent government.
- Freedom of information.
- A well-informed community.
- Government agencies that are run justly and efficiently.
- High quality education.
- Quality housing that is affordable to all residents.
- World-class infrastructure that supports free enterprise and job creation.
- A robust and inclusive arts and culture scene.
- Healthy ecosystems and preparations for flooding and climate change.
We have chosen to be a small business, rather than a nonprofit, because we want to invest in and be a part of our community. We believe in paying taxes and reporting on how that money is spent. That said, we are under no illusions that we will become the next publishing millionaires doing this – and that’s not what we want. Our goal and mission is to produce ambitious reporting in our area in a way that will eventually sustain a full-time reporting staff. We know that will take time. We’re in it for the long haul.