By GREGORY ZELLER //
For Jed Morey, namesake of Garden City-based media company Morey Publishing, there are always alternatives.
They certainly define his firm, a journalism/sales/graphic design/CRM hybrid that delicately rides the fence between impartial news organization – its flagship Long Island Press has won some 400 awards for print and digital journalism excellence over the last 14 years – and full-on marketing agency, brimming with SEO and lead-generation programs.
They describe, literally, the radio station that started it all: WLIR, 92.7 on the FM dial and first in the hearts of circa-1980s Islanders who finally had a local home for an alternative-rock movement featuring U2, Depeche Mode and The Cure. Morey’s father, Ron, won a license to operate a Class A FM station on the Island – the start of the Morey media empire – and the genre of choice would inspire then-high-schooler Jed for decades to come.
Alternatives are still on his mind. This week, the Long Island Press publisher launched a beta version of New York Financial Press, an “alternative financial news journal” that eschews traditional market reporting – earnings statements and trading indexes – and looks behind the numbers.
Morey Publishing’s “next foray into an alternative news product,” Morey noted, stems from new verticals the company began developing about four years ago, when it ceased Long Island Press print operations and focused exclusively on digital domains.
Trading its print-advertising model for a new inbound marketing model – promoting through blogs, SEO, social media and other forms of content marketing – and simultaneously creating third-party customer-relationship management and lead-generation services, the new Morey Publishing quickly “developed a niche in the financial services space,” Morey said.
“We’ve represented a number of clients on the agency side in the robo-advisory, marketplace-lending and credit union space, all of which I consider alternative finance,” he added. “It’s been an interesting journey, and from a journalistic perspective, it’s been a dream of ours, to get deeper into this.”
Within that space are “the underpinnings of the financial system that people don’t really talk about,” the publisher noted, and that’s where New York Financial Press – not to be confused with a defunct video-news company of the same name – will stake its claim.
The story-behind-the-story mindset is similar to the motif that’s marked the Long Island Press since its 2002 debut, including the parent publication’s longstanding reporting on financial sectors.
“We don’t really report on major market activities,” Morey noted. “We enjoy peeking around the corner.”
The company will now look behind the financial sector’s curtain, sniffing out telltale trends and other critical angles that fall through the mainstream cracks – the “stories no one else is telling,” according to Morey.
It’s no rookie squad doing the sniffing, either, starting with Editor in Chief Christopher Twarowski. The editorial leader was part of the inaugural investigative-journalism class at Columbia University, where requirements for his master’s degree in journalism included a year-long internship on the Washington Post financial desk – which happened to occur in 2008, just as the Great Recession settled over the land.
The New York Financial Press staff also includes a full-time news editor, a full-time financial writer and a stable of professional freelancers. The team will be based in Morey Publishing’s Garden City offices, and while Long Island is its home, the publisher decided to go with “New York” in the name to establish the new publication’s broader scope.
“There’s only so much you can do with a brand like ‘Long Island Press,’” Morey said. “You can’t really achieve credibility beyond the region you represent, just by the nature of the title of the flag.”
And establishing credibility is definitely the plan. The publisher cited a “slow build” during the New York Financial Press’ beta run, allowing himself and his crew time to establish beats, assess staffing needs and, most importantly, find their voice.
“We essentially need to establish the architecture first,” Morey noted. “We have to produce several months of content and prove that we can be effective in this space. We have an idea what we want our voice to be, but you still have to develop that voice and you really have to let the writers and editors take ownership of that process.”
Morey said the beta will end and New York Financial Press will officially launch sometime this year, most likely in the fourth quarter. And when it does, he noted, it won’t indulge delusions of grandeur.
“We’re not looking to become the next Bloomberg.com,” Morey said.
But New York Financial Press is looking to become the go-to watchdog of the commodities markets, wealth management issues, robo-advisors – financial advisors who provide online portfolio management with virtually no one-on-one interaction – and other critical sectors often overlooked by mainstream journalists.
The mission – “empowering the investor through understanding of real market trends,” Morey said – is clear. How the fledgling publication gets there remains to be seen.
There are always alternatives, Morey noted.
“Finance is evolving very quickly,” he said. “And so much of our financial system is built outside the public view. We think the possibilities here are endless, and we’d like to wade in and challenge some conventional wisdom.”