JACKSON, Wyo. — The new year brought a big change to Buckrail, LLC. As of January 1, 2020, Buckrail has been acquired by Teton Digital Media LLC (TDM), an independent subsidiary of Teton Media Works Inc. (TMW).
Previous owners Brian Modena and Brian Gulotta, or “The Brians” in the Buckrail office, bought Buckrail from Lander-based Pitchengine in 2017. In the two years since, Buckrail.com has grown from 2.8 million page views in 2017 to over 8 million page views in 2019. It published 7,692 stories and reached over 4.1 million readers in the last 24 months.
It also re-launched “Best of Jackson Hole,” a community voting poll and multimedia publication recognizing local businesses and people that make Jackson so special.
Modena said he saw the trend of digital news distribution growing nationally and recognized there was room in the local market. With development support from his team at TMBR Creative Agency, he and his team were able to “deploy new technology faster and rank better in search than anyone else could.”
“Some healthy competition within the local news market drastically elevated the level of reporting, access to news, adoption of new technology and I think the community is better served for it.”
While the technology was part of the success, he and Gulotta are most proud of the team they built, Modena said.
“We hired local reporters, account managers, and photographers who truly care about this place. Our mission was simple: quick, fast, and objective local news. We meet our readers where they are and always try to put the community first.”
TDM has retained Modena as a consultant through June to ensure a seamless transition for its staff, readers, and advertising partners.
It is “bittersweet” to let Buckrail go, but Modena said growth and change are natural parts of entrepreneurship.
“We’re excited to have the opportunity to place Buckrail with a publisher who has deep roots in Jackson Hole and will be stewards of connecting the community through news, media, and discussion. That’s what we saw as the mission of Buckrail and still see for its future.”
“We built something special with Buckrail and we’re pleased it’s in good hands, especially since Buckrail’s current team will continue to move the business forward,” Gulotta said. “With the support of TDM’s Vice President Adam Meyer, Buckrail’s Account Manager Emily Greiff will continue to manage the day to day operations.”
Buckrail’s entire team will stay on board under new ownership. The team includes Greiff, Community Reporter Shannon Sollitt, Photographer Nick Sulzer, Contributing Writer Jake Nichols, and a network of contributing writers and photographers.
“Buckrail’s readers and advertisers have come to know and appreciate its unique, informational and genuine community-connecting voice,” Meyer said.
“It’s an effective digital platform to help us cultivate a more engaged community. We welcome Buckrail’s talented staff to our team.
TDM was formed recently to ensure Buckrail’s voice and independence remains for readers and advertisers seeking a digital-only, community message board including an array of local, statewide content and advertising offerings.
TDM joins digital marketing-services agency Orijin Media as fully independent business subsidiaries of TMW.
TMW’s subscriber-based JHNewsAndGuide.com, Jackson Hole News&Guide e-edition, Jackson Hole Daily e-edition and its freely-available news app Hole Scroll served over 13 million page views in 2019 and reached 8.5 million readers over the past 24 months.
Teton County resident Kevin Olson established TMW in 2012 to acquire the assets of Jackson Hole News Inc. Today, TMW publishes the Jackson Hole News&Guide, Jackson Hole Daily, special interest magazines (Jackson Hole, Teton Family, RANGE and A Grand Wedding) and related websites. Olson serves as president and publisher. Meyer remains vice president and associate publisher. Combined, TMW employs 73 full and part-time associates.
“Our company’s mission since inception was and is to be catalysts for an engaged and inspired community,” Olson said. “We do this through our newsroom by providing readers with impartial, verified local news and information reported by professional journalists. With it, we encourage residents and visitors to be informed, seek understanding of other points of view and most importantly participate in preserving Jackson Hole’s special qualities.