By Stephen Vance, Editor
I had no idea what to expect two years ago when, on an unseasonably warm day in mid-November of 2009, I made the last few clicks that officially launched The Meaford Independent website.
This week as we at The Meaford Independent celebrate our second anniversary, I would like to extend a heartfelt thank you to everyone who has made The Independent possible.
First and foremost I would like to thank our readers who have been unbelievably supportive in these first two years.
Who could have guessed that two years in, we would have published more than 1,800 articles including more than 300 letters from our readers?
It is one thing to publish a lot of articles, but it means nothing if nobody reads them. Fortunately for The Independent, all of those articles have certainly found eyeballs.
In our first 23 full months of operation, The Meaford Independent website has seen more than 284,000 visits, and those visits have resulted in excess of 1.3 million pages clicked on and viewed.
While in the early days our website would receive 4,000 visits in a month, today we are seeing 20,000 visits each month, and our readership is continuing to grow as more and more people discover The Meaford Independent.
So to our readers, on behalf of The Meaford Independent, I thank you for your enthusiastic support and continued readership.
Of course, as valuable as our readers are, The Meaford Independent couldn’t exist without advertisers. We have been fortunate that so many local businesses and organizations have seen value in spending their advertising dollars with The Meaford Independent, especially in the early days when we were just beginning to build our readership.
Thank you to all of our wonderful advertisers for supporting our project, we truly appreciate you.
The Meaford Independent is about community. I often say that you – the community, write the stories, we just tap keys on a keyboard in order to allow others to read them.
In our first two years we have covered dozens upon dozens of community events, three elections, and hundreds of stories about the governance of our municipality.
And while we are committed to providing informative, unbiased coverage in our news articles, we certainly don’t hold back when it comes time for writing editorial and opinion pieces.
From our very first editorial in which we suggested that residents should give Meaford’s then relatively new CAO a chance to implement positive change, to our encouraging our readers to phone and email their newly elected council to demand that public question period be preserved at council meetings, our goal is to not just offer our opinion, but to encourage our readers to be informed and to become part of a process that has such an important impact on our daily lives.
You, the readers of The Independent have responded in a positive way, and the public question period at council meetings is a perfect example.
At the inaugural meeting of the newly elected council on December 6th of 2010, the only formal order of business was for council to vote on the new procedural bylaw, but before that happened, members of council insisted that public question period be preserved. Deputy Mayor Harley Greenfield said at the time that he and other members of council had received numerous phone calls and email from the public who were concerned about the potential loss of their voice at council meetings.
A revision was made to the new procedural bylaw, and public question period was preserved thanks to the actions taken by Meaford residents, and the open ears of our members of council.
After that meeting as I was interviewing members of council, one councillor said to me “Well, it looks like you won,” referring to the preservation of the public question period. My response? “No, the community won.”
Hard news and opinion pieces aside, we’ve also tried to have some fun with The Meaford Independent.
As you can see in the slide-show above, in our first two years we have designed and published 19 different logos to welcome you to our website. Sometimes we are recognizing a specific holiday or event, and other times, we are just having fun.
We’ve also had some fun with reader polls, cartoons, and even one much talked about April Fools article, because even in the news business, you can’t be serious all of the time.
I would never be able to thank all of the individuals that have helped The Meaford Independent become what it has, but there are some folks that I would like to personally thank:
My sons Sam and Zack who have adopted Meaford as their second home, and who have always been enthusiastic about what I have been trying to accomplish with The Independent – thank you boys.
Susanne Wussow who came aboard earlier this year in the role of Publisher. Susanne has demonstrated a huge belief in and commitment to The Independent, and together we have some surprises in store for the coming months and years.
My wonderful friends who are too numerous to name, but you all know who you are – thank you for the support you have shown and the encouragement you have given over these two years. It is appreciated more than I could ever adequately express.
So two years are in the books, and we now enter our third year. The best is yet to come.
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