The Incline is leaving the nest.
Ok, the official line is that Spirited Media and WhereBy.Us, operators of four local sites including The New Tropic in Miami and The Evergrey in Seattle, have reached a deal for The Incline, the Pittsburgh site we launched in 2016. The sale means WhereBy.Us will continue to publish the site and will manage its employees moving forward.
But the reality feels more like a kid leaving home. After all, Spirited gave The Incline life immediately following an investment of capital by Gannett. The site, monetized primarily through events and a membership program, won the 2018 Hearken Champion of Curiosity Award, two 2018 Golden Quill Awards from the Press Club of Western Pennsylvania and a 2018 Vann Award from from the Pittsburgh Black Media Federation.
“From the minute I first talked to WhereBy.Us, I knew I was dealing with people who appreciated The Incline the same way we did and could be trusted,” said Jim Brady, CEO of Spirited Media. “For those reasons, WhereBy.Us is the perfect home for The Incline, a site that always prided itself on trying new things.”
“The Incline team and Spirited Media have built an awesome community and a trusted local journalism brand. We knew this was an opportunity to continue that work in a unique city with tremendous energy and growth,” said Christopher Sopher, CEO of WhereBy.Us. “We’re delighted to welcome The Incline’s team, its readers and members and supporters to our network at WhereBy.Us.”
In an unrelated move, Founding Incline Editor Lexi Belculfine is leaving Spirited Media for a job at The Philadelphia Inquirer. Rossilynne Culgan will lead the newsroom as The Incline’s Pittsburgh director. Reporter Coin Deppen’s title becomes Storytelling Producer. Lindsey Van der Veer will continue running events and sales. (Reporter MJ Slaby is moving back to her home state of Indiana.)
And of course we wish Lexi, Rossilynne, Colin, MJ and Lindsey the very best. They’ll always be The Incline, and we’ll always have a soft spot for the Steel City’s best local newsroom.
And The Incline has nowhere to go but up.