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Transparency report – Catching fire


Transparency report – Catching fire

Me, looking all pro and stuff with my sweet new Podcast mic.

Dan Whisenhunt, Editor and Publisher

I began February with low expectations.

January had been our best month in the history of the website. We’d had 64,220 page views, and 27,404 unique views. It was a strong month for us, and we did particularly well during the snow storm. But February is a short month, meaning we had less time to improve upon those numbers.

We launched our new website and I expected a bit of a boost from that. But I figured if February matched the January numbers, we’d be doing well.

Well, we matched January’s numbers. Then we beat them with a sledgehammer.

We had (and this number still blows my mind) 138,993 page views, and 65,691 unique views. This wasn’t just a good showing for Decaturish. It was a good showing for any independent Metro Atlanta website.

Now, we’ll go ahead and throw a caveat in here: we did have another snow storm in February. But even if you subtract our 36,369 page views and 22,221 unique views between Feb. 11 and Feb. 14, we still had a damn good month.

Will March be another month of explosive growth? I’m going to be conservative, and say those numbers will fall, but hopefully not by much. But I was wrong about February, so who knows?

We did pretty well with donations, too. We pulled in about $316 from our donors. I put that money to good use. It has been budgeted for freelancers, business association dues and other miscellaneous expenses.

I wanted to share one other stat with you. Decatur has a population of 19,800 people, give or take. According to my data, 20,304 of my visits and 38,916 of my page views in February came from the city of Decatur. Now, some of that might be people who work here and live elsewhere. But I think it’s safe to say I’ve captured a significant share of the market. That’s great. I love it. That’s my bedrock.

But to become a thriving media company, we will have to continue expanding our coverage. We’ll need to play to a local audience but also have a broader appeal. We’ll have to continue producing exciting, informative content about Kirkwood, Avondale Estates and the broader metro area. We’ll have to produce more of it, more frequently.

I won’t be able to do it alone. I’m going to need help. With your continued support of this endeavor, I will be able to pay more freelancers at better rates.

I have dreams for this publication. I think they’re achievable and I’ll list a few of them here in no particular order.

– I’d like to find someone to do a regular restaurant review for us.

– I’d like to cover prep sports.

– I’d like to have vibrant arts coverage.

– I’d like to have in-depth investigative reporting that makes our government more transparent and accountable.

– I’d like to have regular opinion contributors, people who will represent diverse and interesting viewpoints.

I want to recruit the best writers, photographers and artists in the metro area. I want this website to be an exciting, fun experience every single day. When you visit our homepage, I want you to see the best content this area has to offer.

Those are just a few of the things that occupy my thoughts when I’m not grinding out copy to feed the beast in the machine.

I can get there, and you can help. Here’s how:

– Contribute to Decaturish. The “Please Donate” button is on the bottom right hand side of your screen in the footer. Any contribution of any amount helps.

– Support our advertisers. Our advertisers are helping us to become less dependent on donations to sustain us. They’re not just buying an advertisement. They’re showing a commitment to local journalism. Please visit their stores, websites and events. Remember to tell them that you heard about their business thanks to Decaturish. The health of our local economy is very important to me. I’m a small business owner too and know that every dollar spent is an important consideration. If you can help these companies see a return on their investment, it will help us continue to grow.

– Like us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter and share our articles using social media. That’s probably the easiest of the three, but it’s also extraordinarily effective. Increasing our social media presence increases our reach. Some companies pay firms to generate likes and follows. I think that strategy is worthless in the long run. Our organic, word-of-mouth strategy will yield more loyal readers who will be more important to potential advertisers.

There’s no ceiling for what I’m trying to achieve. I’m not going to let myself get comfortable. Each month will be a new challenge, and some level of failure will be inevitable.

But I’ve seen enough success to make me believe that we have the potential not only to be the best news product covering our little corner of the metro area, but the best product in the metro area period.

You have helped me get this far. Help me get a little further.

Thank you for your continued support.