(VIDEO) A word from the editor and the December 2013 Transparency Report
Creating this video was more nerve wracking than I anticipated, but it’s something I wanted to get right. Please take a minute to watch:
So that’s the deal. As I previously mentioned, I’ll be leaving my job at Reporter Newspapers as of Jan. 10 to focus on Decaturish.com full time.
In order to help me get over the initial hurdle, I’m going to need your support.
Here’s how you can help:
To make a donation via PayPal, click the blue button in the upper right hand side of the screen.
Any donation is appreciated, but for people who give a little more, you get something extra. Anyone who gives $100 or more will get a sweet-lookin’ Decaturish.com coffee mug. You’ll also have the opportunity to be mentioned on the home page, starting in February.
Donors who give $100 or more can have their name or their company’s name published on the home page for three months.
Donors who give $500 or more can have their name or their company’s name published on the home page for six months.
And donors who give $800 or more can get their name or their company’s name published on the home page for a full year.
As always, I’ll let you know how much I take in through the donation process. Unlike previous donation drives, all money received after Dec. 31 will go toward my start up costs. That means I’ll be a one man show around here, so you won’t see any freelance contributions for awhile. I hope that changes quickly, but I have no way of predicting when it will. Our freelancers understand my decision and have been supportive, because they believe this product has potential.
They believe it for good reason. Deaturish continues to grow. In December, we had the most page views, 36,800, and the most unique views, 15,142, in the history of the site.
Our social media presence on Twitter and Facebook continues to grow. Decaturish also has a growing email subscriber list.
There’s another chart I want you to see. It’s from a survey commissioned by the Atlanta Regional Commission. The survey asked 2,100 voting-age residents in the metro area where they get information about current events. Here’s how they responded:
As you can see, as a news website I’m well positioned to succeed and Decaturish.com’s traffic numbers are headed in the right direction. Your contributions will allow me to focus on creating the best product possible and developing a sustainable revenue stream that’ll keep us providing news for years to come.
Aside from fewer bylines, there will be some other important changes in the days and weeks ahead.
– Within the next few weeks I’m going to move Decaturish from a WordPress.com site to a WordPress.org site. The main reason is money. WordPress.com is ridiculously difficult to monetize for reasons I won’t bore you with. A .Org site will be self-hosted using a WordPress theme that will have positions for advertising. Yeah, I know ads can be frustrating, but they’re a fact of life in the news business. Our other alternative would be subscription content and that’s an unpopular option that I could easily screw up.
My goal is having the ads be unobtrusive and conform to the aesthetic of the site as much as possible. Donations I receive will help me find a way to do this without taking shortcuts because I’m under pressure to turn a profit.
– There will be an effort to separate the news content from the other wacky stuff that I write. I still want to have that outlet, which is why I’ll be creating an editor’s blog feature that will run as a sidebar to the main site. Some content will be cross posted, but I wanted to separate it because I know that most of my readers come here for local news. I don’t want my love of The Simpsons, Batman or Alabama football getting in the way of that.
– Our content has expanded to include Avondale Estates and Kirkwood and I will continue covering those areas. Decaturish could continue expanding, if an opportunity presents itself and the money is there. Hence the “Ish” in Decaturish. (See what I did there?) Unlike other local news websites, I’m not going to try to create a news storefront in each community. There won’t be a Kirkwoodish or an Avondale Estatesish. It will be Decaturish from now until the doomsday meteor hits. Decatur’s walkable, urban development is going to be the future of the metro area. Our website is going to focus on readers who live in those communities, whether they’re a homeowner or they’re renting a condo on the BeltLine. There are plenty of news products serving the suburbs. There’s no need to create another one.
– I will be adding new multimedia features, but I’m going to stay quiet about that for the moment, because some details are being worked out. Adding those features will create some more ad positions for us to sell and provide other news platforms for people who consume information differently. It’ll be cool, though, I promise.
Those are the big ticket items, though I’ll be making some other tweaks that I probably forgot to mention. As always, the goal is about creating a fun, informative experience for our readers.
Now with that out of the way, I’ll go over the numbers for last month.
In December, Decaturish received the following in donations:
Dec. 11 – $10
Dec. 14- $10
Dec. 26- $25
Editor’s match – $100 (This is the last editor’s match.)
Those funds will be paid out to the writers who helped me get to this point. It’s not a lot, but they were willing to do it for free if I would’ve let them. That’s the kind of people who work in this business. They’re doing because they believe journalism is important. That’s why I’m doing it, too.
Please help me build a business that will create more opportunities for writers and artists bringing you news about the metro area. Invest in the future of journalism. Donate to Decaturish.com.