Eleven years ago, just about the time you may be reading this – sometime in July – in the Year of Our Lord 2007, two ne’er do well knuckleheads (Lawson Koeppel and myself) set our minds to thinking that what the world really needed most (and more specifically Roanoke, VA) was a community newspaper with a hyper-local focus that would “lift up the positive people, places and events that make this valley such a wonderful place to live . . .”
And with that notion – and no less of a penchant for run-on sentences than we have now – we did it. Lawson with his newspaper publishing and editing experience and the rest of us with a whole lot of energy, enthusiasm, and the kind of excitement that comes with very few “knowns” – and no shortage of “known and unknown unknowns . . .”
Most folks – especially those in the publishing world – gave us only 6 months at best, including one business magazine publisher that boldly predicted we’d survive “no more than 6 weeks,” but we have beaten that number by a fair margin – and then some.
But things have been rather fluid in the publishing world (to say it mildly) and my routine response to inquiries about “how things are going” has always been, “Check back with us in 2-3 months and see if we’re still here . . .” Truthfully, it has pretty much felt that way since day one – but amazingly we have always seemed to receive just what we need, right when we needed it. Which has been its own wonderful benediction as it has happened over and over again for 11 years and running.
But over the last several months we have also begun to feel more deeply what we have known all along – that newsprint is on its way to going the way of the buffalo, Kodak and the 3 speed column shifter. In fact, an integral part of our business plan has always been to allow print to drive us forward as long as possible as we developed the online side of our product into its own self-sustaining platform – which is not the easiest of things to accomplish. (Just ask any media outlet anywhere.) But we think we are very close to being there – and not a moment too soon.
Which is where YOU come in.
For it is our readers and advertisers who will determine our ability to go forward online providing a different take on what truly constitutes news in our Valley: house fires, drug busts and auto accidents? Or the aforementioned “positive people, places and events that lift us up and make us who we are?” (Along with compelling opinion / commentary that you won’t find anywhere else!)
1.) Go to our website (updated daily!) and click the SUBSCRIBE Button – a simple $33 online “subscription” (that is really a donation since we don’t block it with a firewall) will help keep this public trust going and available for you to enjoy whenever you wish on your phone, tablet or computer. If you are so inclined PLEASE DO SO NOW as this baseline of support is critical to our ongoing online success.
2.) Better yet, ADVERTISE! Have a product or service in the Roanoke Valley that you want to promote? Our low overhead (i.e. no multi-million dollar presses, production studios or excessive staff to maintain) allows us to offer the most efficient and effective online advertising in the Valley, and over the next several months you can piggyback the heavy investment in Facebook, Instagram and Twitter promotions we will be using to further grow our position. Contact us by email or phone (below) and let us show you the numbers.
3.) “Better yet, yet” do both AND KEEP US IN YOUR PRAYERS – that the work we seek to do here will honor all that is good and right and real and of God in this world. We mean that – for it has been His grace and providential blessing that has allowed our success these past 11 years and will determine it going forward. Ours is to fully trust the road ahead to Him.
Wherever that happens to lead please know that we have, are and will always be thankful for your support and trust as readers, advertisers and patrons – without you as part of the provision of that aforementioned sweet grace we would have never made it to this place. We owe you our very best – and we will strive with all that we are to continue to give it.
So here’s to the next “six weeks” – may it too become another “decade plus one” – and many, many more to follow.
[email protected] / 540-400-0990