“Our state. Our news. Our home.”
The man behind the media movement to restore community voices for the betterment of all.
Community. Where traditions are born and passed down through generations. Where values, views, and beliefs are shared—and sometimes debated—over coffee at the local diner. Where dreams are born, nurtured, rise, and flourish, and neighbors look out for neighbors. This is very essence of “community.” For Bryan Shupe, it’s everything—and for the people in his hometown of Milford, Delaware, and across “The First State” there’s nothing he wouldn’t do. His passion to improve their quality of life drove Bryan through a childhood of volunteerism and ignited a lifetime devoted to this mission—as a local business owner, community leader, Delaware state representative, and the creator of Milford’s first hyperlocal community-driven media outlet, Milford Live. Today, as the CEO of Delaware LIVE News network, a locally owned, statewide news media company, he’s bringing communities back into the spotlight with stories by the people, for the people, and of the people of Delaware.
It all began in 2010. When Bryan saw the newspaper replace local-interest stories with national, often negative, news, he created Milford Live, filling the digital pages with positive outcomes from local businesses, nonprofits, and community leaders, and news that mattered to Milford residents. In 2020, Bryan expanded his vision with Delaware LIVE News, a network that is giving the voices back to communities across the commonwealth, with statewide, local news and live-streaming high school sports. “People want to be involved and engaged in their local communities,” Bryan says. “We listen to the concerns and ideas of our residents, and deliver information that matters to them.” And Delaware LIVE is delivering on that promise. In 2022, Delaware Public Libraries honored the news outlet with its Media Award. For Delawareans, it’s a long-awaited return to what news once was—and should be—and the rekindling of communal harmony and camaraderie.
Delaware LIVE News network: “Our state. Our news. Our home.”
Delaware LIVE was launched in an effort to combat the national takeover of Delaware news. Rooted in traditional journalism, the network uses a digital platform to interact directly with readers daily. Featuring hyperlocal content about community culture, businesses, schools, government, health, and sports, Delaware LIVE highlights innovators and influencers that are playing a vital role in Delaware’s future, and tells the collective and individual stories of the people, institutions, and experiences across the state.
We sat down with Bryan to learn more about Delaware LIVE, their mission to bring attention to local communities, and his ongoing efforts to improve the quality of life for all.
Delaware LIVE is flipping the script on the national news behemoths, covering topics that matter to each community. Do citizens play an active role in the stories you produce?
Yes, they do. People write to us to tell us what they want to hear and questions they have about their community, and then we pursue them. A lot of times we’re surprised by what people want to know more about, and being able to uncover and present these stories that matter to them is important to us. A lot of news agencies just copy/paste content from press releases issued by state agencies or nonprofits, and the public is unaware that they’re following the one-sided narrative they want to tell you. We get multiple sides of the story, talk to the people who are impacted by things that are going on, people for/against an issue, and really focus on traditional journalism and how it was intended to inform the public about what’s going on in their local communities.
What has the response from the Delaware community been to Delaware LIVE?
It’s been absolutely amazing. They’ve told us that we’re really filling a void for local news and they’re really excited that they have an opportunity to get engaged with their community. They feel like they know where to go to have their voice heard. It’s exciting because people tell us they never knew certain things were going on with their community, and because of our reporting, they’re able to attend the local government meetings and take part in the process before it it’s voted on. Now we’re seeing that bigger networks are starting to follow our lead and report more hyperlocal, and I think that’s our larger goal—developing an atmosphere where all media outlets are focusing more on our neighborhoods, communities, and talking about actions that are going to impact our community before they happen so that people can get engaged.
Your passion for improving people’s lives is clearly seen in your personal and professional endeavors, Bryan. Where does this come from?
When I was in high school, I told my parents I wanted to be an entrepreneur and I wanted to get involved with local government. They would say, “I don't know how that will work out for you, because we don’t have a lot of money, we don’t have prominent name.” When I started my first business at 26, and then was elected mayor at 29, I saw that I could really effect change, and I realized that my path in life was to bring people together among all this divisiveness, among these commonalities to say, “You don’t have to have a lot of money, a name; you can do things in your community by working together toward a common goal. This remains my mission in everything I do.
Delaware LIVE clearly epitomizes your mission, as does your ongoing work on behalf of the people of Milford and across Delaware. Will you share just a few of your accomplishments?
I’ll be happy to. In Milford, I rehabilitated a 20-year vacant property at the entrance of our downtown business district, creating a 14,000 square-foot home for two local businesses. As a state lawmaker, I established a public-private partnership, alongside my colleague Rep. Bentz, to attract primary care physicians and nurse practitioners to Delaware through a Health Care Provider Loan Repayment Program (HB 48). My wife and I also own Fur Baby Pet Resort with 18 employees, and we try to help them grow to meet their desire of where they want to go in the company and their personal goals.
Bryan serves on the Boys & Girls Club of Delaware Board of Trustees, the University of Delaware Political Science Advisory Board, the Brandywine Valley SPCA Advisory Board, the University of Delaware Mentoring Program, and Delaware State Chamber of Commerce Small Business Alliance.
CEO — Delaware LIVE News Network
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