First digital-only company applies for membership in SNPA


Coastal Empire News (CEN), headquartered in Savannah, Ga., has applied for membership in SNPA as a digital-only company.  CEN, which is owned by president and founder Lou Phelps, is the first such company to apply for digital-only membership under the criteria set by the SNPA Board of Directors.

The Board set digital-only requirements as:

  • Principally devoted to the dissemination of local or general news and other editorial content (not less than 25 percent of overall content). A substantial portion must be staff produced or locally written.
  • Available to the general public via the World Wide Web.
  • Content must be updated on a regular basis, not less than once a week.
  • Must follow the ethics and standards of print journalism.
  • Must not primarily serve as a platform promoting the interests and/or opinions of a special interest group, individual or cause.
  • Can be either paid or unpaid.
  • Must have been continuously published for a minimum of one year.
  • Must abide by copyright laws.

Coastal Empire News offers a daily general news website and a family of niche daily news sites in each of its markets, edited by four professional journalists who have all been employed by various print daily news companies in the area. The dailies are and

Lou Phelps
Phelps is also managing principal of the international consulting firm of Phelps, Cutler & Associates.  PC&A is a division of CEN, with a website for clients at  

CEN was founded in January 2010, and now publishes six daily digital news websites and two regional advertising websites, launched in 2013 – – partnered with – and, with their vendor partner Pulse Research, using that firm's suite of real estate solutions. 

In 2013, CEN will publish its yearly print directory "The Savannah Book of Lists" and "The Brunswick Book of Lists," as part of its business journal strategy.  CEN also has a web development/digital ad agency division, Absolute Marketing.  The majority of the company's websites have been built and are hosted by CEN. 

CEN also is a member of the Inland Press Association, and has been a member of the Congressional Press Corps since 2010.  

Phelps is a respected national media consultant, a turn-around specialist, and has extensive experience in mergers & acquisitions.  PC&A also offers executive recruitment services for select clients.

Phelps launched her first media company in Georgia in Savannah in 1998 by starting The Business Report & Journal, acquiring her competitor within six months, as well as purchasing Coastal Family magazine. In 2004, she launched her first digital news website,, the second digital-only news website in the United States.  Now in her 15th year of publishing in Georgia, her Savannah company recently expanded its digital news strategy into the Brunswick, Ga., metro market with three new daily news websites:, and

The clients of Phelps, Cutler & Associates have included national media leaders – Civitas Media, The Tribune Company, Times Mirror, Thomson Newspapers, The Boston Globe, Hartford Courant and KPC Media Group.

She has managed, acquired and launched weekly newspapers on Boston's South Shore, serving as editor and publisher, and was a co-owner of The Mariner Newspapers of Marshfield, Mass., a group of 18 community newspapers sold to ABC/Capital Cities in 1988.  Under her leadership, her division of the company was the recipient of numerous editorial awards from the New England Press Association. She also personally received the Associated Press' award for Community Service.

Phelps has held elected local office, including serving as the chairman of the Marshfield, Mass., Public Schools Board, and has served on numerous charitable boards in both the Boston suburbs and Savannah, including from 2000 to 2005 on the board of directors of The Savannah Area Chamber of Commerce.  In 2001, she was the recipient of the Edith Head "Small Business Champion" award of that Chamber.


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