Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Advance Ohio Launches New Lakefront-focused Website, Rockthelake.com

Posted By on Wed, Sep 20, 2017 at 12:00 PM

Cleveland.com Editor Chris Quinn was pleased to announce this morning a new venture for Advance Ohio: rockthelake.com. It is the brainchild, we're told, of local software guru John Stahl and his LeanDog beer summits.

Cleveland.com's Laura Johnston will edit the site.

"She plans to cover sailing, fishing, paddleboarding, kayaking, boating, patio dining, open-water swimming, sea-glass-collecting, driftwood-crafting and sunset-watching," Quinn writes.

But, um, why on earth is Advance Ohio getting involved?

"It just so happens that earlier this year, we were brainstorming how we might tap into the region's identification with Lake Erie," Quinn writes. "Taking over a thoroughly thought out, well-designed, lake-centered website was an ideal solution."


The venture sure seems like a peculiar one for a news organization — rockthelake.com currently purports to be a destination for "events, attractions, and buzz" — but less so for Advance Ohio, the PD/Cleveland.com parent company, which you'll recall is also a provider of "unique marketing solutions for businesses throughout Ohio."

It's yet to be determined if rockthelake.com is a marketing solution in search of a marketing problem — Is this all a ploy to gain traction for Stahl's Cleveland Skylift pipe dream? — but folks may indeed appreciate a one-stop shop for Lake Erie happenings. Nothing wrong with that, in theory. 

On this spectrum's opposite end is Great Lakes Today, a news destination and regional journalism collaboration between Cleveland's WCPN/ideastream, Buffalo-Toronto's WNED / WBFO, and WXXI of Rochester, N.Y. That site (like others funded by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting) tends toward the dry — no pun intended — but it offers critical insight into environmental and policy issues affecting the Great Lakes. 

Rockthelake.com will focus exclusively on Lake Erie. In fact, it may be interpreted as the media arm of the Cleveland Lakefront Collaborative, whose mission, it says, is simple: "to develop and promote all that Cleveland's lakefront has to offer for the people of this region, and our visitors."

With financial contributions from the City of Cleveland, the Rock Hall, Key Bank, Forest City, the Metroparks, the Port, Geis Cos. and LeanDog itself — and now with management from the region's premiere digital marketing firm, Advance Ohio — don't expect hard-hitting lakefront coverage or anything.

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