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From the publisher: Decaturish reaches nearly 50% of fundraising goal, reaches inflection point

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From the publisher: Decaturish reaches nearly 50% of fundraising goal, reaches inflection point

Dan Whisenhunt, Editor and Publisher of Decaturish.com and TuckerObserver.com speaks to the Decatur Rotary Club on March 4, 2022. Photo by Dean Hesse.

Dear readers,

Decaturish has raised $9,175, nearly 50% of its goal for its fall fundraiser.

To contribute to the fall fundraiser, click here. As the publisher, I wanted you to know that the company is undergoing some changes that, I hope, will create a sustainable company that will serve Decatur for many years to come.

First, an important disclosure. My background is in journalism. When I started this website as a community blog nine years ago, the goal wasn’t to create a business. I wanted to create a more diverse set of clips to hopefully land a better opportunity with a bigger newspaper. Along the way, I carved out a niche for myself and found a new home, DeKalb County, and a new job covering it.

I’ve also had to learn how to manage and run a business. When you’re a reporter or any employee of a large company, it’s easy to assume the people in charge don’t have a clue. But trying it for myself has been a humbling experience. Between that and becoming a father, I realized I didn’t know nearly as much as I thought.

Decaturish for these nine years has run as a glorified community blog, more or less. We added processes along the way, but I was always too busy to examine those processes objectively. But we’re at an inflection point. Recently, our ad salesman retired. This was not a complete surprise, but the labor market has made it difficult to find a replacement. Thankfully, Corey Redding has recently joined our team and will be selling ads for us going forward.

Due to the gap between ad sales reps, I had to temporarily suspend most of our freelance work, which means more work for myself and reporter Zoe Seiler in the short term. Once we get the sales side of this business rolling again, my next step will be to carefully scrutinize the cost of everything we do to become more efficient. In short, we cannot run as a glorified blog anymore. To ensure Decaturish remains a locally owned news source, we need to professionalize our operation, so the site can be a valuable community news source for the long term, even after I’ve moved on. (My plan is to leave DeKalb in a pine box, hopefully after I’m 80.)

This will take time. There will be some pain along the way. But I think this is the right step to take. And yes, one of my goals is redesigning this clunker of a website. Bear with me.

Your support of our fall fundraiser will help us get through this transition and set us up for success going into next year. So if you appreciate having a locally owned news source, please contribute.

DeKalb has kept me entertained, and more importantly, it has kept me busy. This county has been good to me and my family. I’ve been here through the cityhood and annexation battles (to be continued, I’m sure), as well as contentious elections and moments of social reckoning. I plan to be here much longer, assuming y’all don’t get mad at me and run me out of town on a rail first.

Next year will mark the 10th anniversary of Decaturish. I hope this is the first of many decades of this site being your trusted community news source.

With respect and gratitude,

— Dano

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