It's been a few weeks since the flooding that drenched and damaged the Catskills community. For the first time since August, Lissa and I have a free weekend to catch our breath. The first thing we want to do is thank you.
We started the Watershed Post in January of 2010 with two goals: To become a go-to source of free, reliable, daily, local news about the Catskills, and to prove that local community journalism can be financially sustainable in a place like the Catskills.
A year and a half later, we've done that first one. Thanks to the tireless efforts of our readers and our volunteer moderators, our Hurricane Irene liveblog and our flooding coverage became a lifeline for our neighbors and for readers across the country.
This week, we were astonished and delighted to learn that the Delaware County Chamber of Commerce has named us "New Business of the Year" for our disaster and flooding coverage.
Also this week, the tireless Terry Doyle, a radio reporter and show host with WIOX 91.3FM who did quite a bit of excellent disaster coverage himself during Irene, presented us with a thank-you card. It is huge -- a foot-and-a-half tall -- and is signed by scores of our readers, friends, and neighbors. (I could only scan small potions of it to illustrate this post.) That card is now displayed front-and-center in our newsroom, and I've got to say that both Lissa and I got misty when Terry gave it to us.
We are so grateful for these honors, and to know that we are doing useful work. It's an privilege to write about the Catskills, and we plan on doing it a good long time.
Which brings me back to that second goal: proving that running an online newspaper in the Catskills is a sustainable business.
First of all, I'm proud to announce that we are hiring. We are looking for a sales manager, an online business account manager, and multiple reporters and town columnists. If you want to be involved in the future of online journalism, get in touch with us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We need more people on our team.
We are also rolling out a brand-new sponsorship/underwriting program. It's designed for organizations and individuals who want to support what we do but who might not be interested in advertising. For more information, click here, or get in touch with me (email@example.com) to talk about the possibilities.
Finally, I want to talk about the heart of our business model: online advertising.
Lissa and I built the Watershed Post as a for-profit venture, and we rely on the support of businesses throughout the Catskills who advertise with us to keep the news flowing. We offer the best online advertising program in the Catskills, and it's getting better every day as our readership grows. Our ads get seen -- by folks in the mountains and in mid-town Manhattan -- and they get results. If you like what we're doing, advertise with us. More details here.
One that note, I want to give a huge thank-you to all of our existing advertisers. You guys are venturing into a brave new world with us. Together, we're building a future for local news in the Catskills. We couldn't be doing what we are doing without you. Thank you.
A huge thank-you to our Watershed Post advertisers:
The Catskill Watershed Corporation
Below: A portion of the thank-you card we received this week. You guys made us weepy.