Your trust is something we cherish and truly appreciate
Published 6:15 pm Friday, March 27, 2020
For most of my life — now 27-plus years — I have worked in the newspaper and media industry. Long before that, I remember reading the newspaper — The Mobile Register — each afternoon when getting home from school.
One of the favorite pastimes for me was reading the baseball box scores and the Major League Baseball standings in the sports section each day. Unfortunately, as a Braves fan, there were bleak times in the 80s and 90s, but still, I looked, consumed by the hitting and pitching stats and looked ahead at who the Braves would be playing — and likely losing to — next.
Growing up, we were not in an area where cable was available and satellite TV was a luxury reserved to those who could afford — and had the land available — for the swimming pool-sized dish in the front yard. The newspaper was my only connection to the Braves and my connection to in-depth coverage of local, state and world events.
It was this connection to the newspaper, the storytelling and the credibility the newspaper had, that have driven my career from photographer, to reporter, to editor and more.
Throughout this career, the newspaper industry has faced its bumps and had a few hiccups. Early on, newspapers were slow to adapt and incorporate the Internet fully into its business models. It fought the transition to diversify into more of a media company and work to meet readers where they were consuming their news and information.
The industry as a whole was stubborn.
But each time there is a crisis, a national emergency or another major news event, it has been newspapers and reporters who the public has come to trust and rely on for information.
This situation around the COVID-19 virus has been no different. While some 24-hour news networks have been scrambling to fill time, in some instances, simply relying on the constantly ticking number of new cases in the United States and world, local media outlets — particularly newspapers — have worked to tell the local stories, the impact the virus and economic slowdown has had on communities.
At The Post, we track a number of overall audience numbers on a daily basis. Those include social media outlets, print distribution and traffic on our website — www.vicksburgpost.com. In each category, in each metric, readership has spiked over the past two weeks, consumption of news and information has reached numbers well above numbers from last year and previous years.
As for the newspaper’s website, we use Google Analytics — the standard used by media and marketing companies to verify traffic and audience — to track the number of people visiting our site (users), the number of stories readers are consuming (pageviews), the time spent on the website and more. It is more data than I have the time or capacity to delve into.
But, in the past 14 days — the days in which the impacts of the spread of the virus have been most felt on residents in Vicksburg and Warren County — traffic on the site has in some cases doubled compared to last year.
In the past 14 days, readers have consumed more than 353,000 pages of content; up more than 50 percent from the same two weeks last year. In that same time period, the number of individual users and new users has doubled.
In writing this column, my goal was to simply say “thanks;” thanks to those who have come to our website, our social media channels and our printed product each day through this situation. It has been our first and only job to get the right information, the correct information to each of you in this time of uncertainty.
As a husband and father, all I want at any moment is the best information and that is what has driven me and others over the past two weeks and what will continue to drive us.
I — rather we at The Post — are both honored and humbled that you have trusted us in this situation and it is a trust we do not take lightly or for granted.
Now, if we get the baseball started and convince the Associated Press to again send box scores, all would be right with the world.