When the city editor at The Journal Times hired me as a reporter 10 years ago, the first thing he said was: "Racine is a newsy town. Weird things happen here." The last few weeks have certainly proven that true, and hopefully RacinePost has been able to dig into the mayor's arrest and resignation and provide some meaningful competition to our daily newspaper.
So what would you think about us doing this full time?
I've been giving a lot of thought to the future of RacinePost and what we can do to grow and improve the site. Right now, Pete and I put the daily site together as a labor of love. (Actually, Pete does a lot of the daily work while I scrounge together a living as a freelance writer.) We're beyond grateful for the number of people who visit RacinePost to scan headlines, read stories and add comments. In our first months, I dreamed of 1,000 daily readers. We're now over that number, and growing on a monthly basis. My greedy mind now hopes for 5,000 (or 10,000!) daily readers, but we have some work to do to get there.
So how do we do it? Here's the plan for the coming months:
1. Complete a redesign that will bring all of RacinePost's sections under "one roof," and add several reader features including a Forum, Reader Blogs, Photo Galleries, a Community Calendar and submitted stories.
2. Ramp up our reporting resources so we're covering more local stories in more depth.
3. Install a system to increase our ad inventory and track advertising on the site. Our goal is to create an affordable, effective advertising solution for local businesses.
4. Create a marketing campaign to solidify our presence in the community.
We need your help to make it possible. Today we're launching a drive to fund RacinePost through reader subscriptions. It's an experiment to find out if independent community journalism can come up with the resources to fund a full-time operation.
"Subscription" here doesn't mean anything exclusive. RacinePost will always be free, whether you contribute or not. Initially, subscriptions will be used to pay us a reasonable salary (trust me, this will be very reasonable) and cover expenses related to the redesign, advertising system and marketing campaign. As we grow, subscriptions will go to hiring additional staff and reporters.
We're really hoping this can be a Racine-powered site. Even a few dollars on a recurring basis would go a long way to supporting RacinePost and establishing a purely local independent news source.
You can make a contribution by clicking here. So let's do this thing! I think it'll be exciting. More to come throughout the week ...