Our Turn: The numbers quantify the need

Your financial support ensures independent operation of your daily local news source

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If nothing else, the numbers justify it.

They don’t demand it, they request it. And should you choose to contribute to the online campaign to keep The Pee Dee Post and PeeDeePost.com independently owned and operated, then it’s clear you see a benefit in supporting Richmond County’s only daily news source.

September_statsaAnd you’re not alone.

PeeDeePost.com went live on April 28, 2014. In May, the first full month of operation, the online news outlet attracted 10,232 individual readers, or unique visitors. Those readers generated 458,323 page views.

Move forward through June, July, August and September and the statistics read like a baseball player on a hot streak. In June, the site attracted 27,497 unique visitors — and 32,004 in July, then 36,882 in August and a whopping 68,739 in September. In September, the fifth full month of operation, readers generated more than 2.3 million page views.

“What has happened,” said Kevin Spradlin, owner and managing editor, “is that we’ve found a need a way to fill it. It’s very clear that consumers of local news in and around Richmond County have been in need of a news outlet that focuses on providing timely and accurate reporting seven days a week — even if they didn’t realize that need before the Post arrived.”

Not only are the readers showing up in force, but they are actively engaged in conversation in the comments section under the stories and columns on PeeDeePost.com as well as the Post’s Facebook page. Most Facebook pages by local Facebookand regional news outlets boast a wide variety of number of Facebook fans but share one thing in common: the percentage of fans actively engaged is relatively small — ranging between 1.43 percent (The Pilot newspaper) to 27.59 percent (the Richmond County Daily Journal).

The Pee Dee Post fan page, meanwhile, boasts a 46.6 percent rate of engagement.

“It’s clear that readers have quickly decided the Post is the online gathering place where they can go for a great discussion on a wide range of topics,” Spradlin said, noting comments have been temporarily suspended on PeeDeePost.com in order to implement a new, user-friendly format.

“Each December, almost every newspaper across America will do a ‘stories of the year’ feature,” Spradlin said, whether it’s the top five, top 10 or a similar approach. “I figured we might have trouble doing that in this, our first year, given that the Post began with four months already completed. In hindsight, that shouldn’t have been an area of concern. The number of readers for a particular story and the number of comments generated make doing a ‘top 10’ feature no problem.”

GoFundMeThe one associated difficulty, Spradlin noted, “is choosing the story of the year. So far, there are at least nine viable candidates. Maybe we can put it to a vote.”

An online-only digital newspaper, the Post is everything you and your parents came to expect from the heyday of traditional print journalism. Instead of arriving on your doorstep, however, the news reports, feature stories, classifieds, event calendar and more are at your fingertip — 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

“While the Post has experienced many successes in its first five-plus months of operation, we have nowhere to go but up,” Spradlin said. “The future is bright.”

The Pee Dee Post and PeeDeePost.com readership will always be free. That being said, “it doesn’t hurt to ask the community to buy into something they support — sometimes several times a day,” Spradlin said.

“There won’t be a paywall on PeeDeePost.com,” he said. “Ever. No subscription required. However, if you feel that community journalism is important and you are drawn to help, then all I can say is, ‘thank you.'”

Contributions are:

* Anonymous, if you wish them to be;

* Put to good use by reinvesting them directly in the product;

* Humbly accepted;

* Very, very much appreciated.

Contributions also can be mailed to:

The Pee Dee Post
301 E. Washington St.
Rockingham NC 28379



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