TribLive’s snarky cousin, upgrūv, killed because of ‘financial performance’

The millennial-focused aggregation site launched two years ago.

The final tweet of Upgruv

The final tweet of Upgruv

Screenshot / Twitter

After a two-year run of lingo-heavy headlines and millennial-geared content, 535 Media’s offshoot Pittsburgh aggregation website upgrūv has gone dark.

Jennifer Bertetto, president and CEO of Trib Total Media and its affiliate 535 Media, told The Incline by email today that the company stopped producing upgrūv on June 28. The site’s url has redirected to’s homepage since then. She said the change is permanent.

TribLive’s digital desk populated upgrūv since the beginning of the year with a mix of content linked from Trib Total Media-affiliated outlets, as well as other websites, Bertetto said.

“There were no employees assigned to upgrūv only for the last six months,” she said by email. “So no, no layoffs, no impacted employees.”

Bertetto said the decision to close upgrūv was “based on the financial performance of the site,” adding, “Upgruv was on a platform we licensed, and the two year agreement was ending on June 30th.”

Launched in 2016, upgrūv was billed as “a personalized content service offering busy young professionals a mix of trending news from Western Pennsylvania and beyond.”

According to a launch announcement published April 9 of that year, “The site is one of several projects being developed by digital-innovation teams as part of Trib Total Media’s strategy to expand and improve its online operations.” The site was born amid an effort to restructure Trib Total Media’s news and business operations in 2015 and adapt to the “sweeping, continuing evolution of readership preferences and habits.”

In 2016, Trib Total Media announced it would cease publication of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review due to low subscription numbers and advertising rates. This left the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette as the city’s only daily newspaper — but that will change next month when the PG cuts its print schedule back from seven to five days a week.

Trib Total Media continues to publish daily editions of the Tribune-Review in Greensburg and Tarentum, as well as weekly regional papers. Bertetto said she is excited about 535 Media projects including e-commerce platforms and Media Rack, a resource for publishers.

“…we are working hard and have adopted the mindset that we will need to launch products quickly, determine whether or not they will be successful quickly and shuffle our resources accordingly,” she said.