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Matt Orr, brainchild of This Week in Sarasota, and Matt Walsh, Editor and CEO of the Observer Group
Siesta Key Wednesday, Mar. 28, 2012 3 years ago

Observer Group inks new partnership

by: Observer Staff

The Observer is made up of journalists who provide you with hyperlocal community coverage about you, your neighbors and your neighborhood. But The Observer realized the one thing it was lacking in the new digital world of media was a good community contributor network, which is another way of saying a good group of bloggers.

One of the hot trends in the newspaper business is changing the culture in which the newsroom dictates what content its readers read and instead invites its readers to contribute content.

To that end, The Observer is partnering with — a local website that has dominated in the community contributor market for the past six years. started as an online calendar featuring Sarasota’s local events and has evolved to include a strong group of contributors that highlight what makes Sarasota a unique and diverse place to visit and live. is the brainchild of Matt Orr, a former real-estate agent with Michael Saunders & Co., turned community connector and social media mogul.

“My parents were coming into town to visit, and there was no place to go to find out what to do to entertain them,” Orr said. “So, I decided to give the community one place where all the events in Sarasota are held.”

The site now reaches more than 60,000 people each month.

By partnering with, The Observer Group will be able to expand its reach beyond its current readership and demographic but also touch the much younger demographic of and vice-versa for TWIS. content will be posted on, and readers will have direct access to And, in turn, Observer news coverage will be posted on, taking TWIS readers back to By cross promoting the local coverage on both sites, we will generate more content for our readers and more eyeballs for our customers, making it a win-win for both companies.

“We are really excited about this partnership, because it helps us take another leap into the digital space,” says Matt Walsh, editor and CEO of The Observer Group. “Matt Orr is a very creative guy, and we think that combining our creative people with him and his creative people is going to result in something that the marketplace is really going to like.”


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