We can’t thank all of you enough for your Swellesley support during 2020. As a small token of our appreciation, we’ve decided to keep our esteemed publication going into 2021. Here in the newsroom (also known as our kitchen table), we take things year by year.
As many of you know, The Swellesley Report’s co-creators and editors are Wellesley residents Bob and Deborah Brown. We launched Swellesley in December 2005 mainly out of a sense of civic duty and in the spirit of exploring the possibilities of online community journalism. What started out as a bit of fun turned into a small business as our site became more popular. As we increased the commitment level to our readers, our readers increased the commitment level to us, and our lives changed forever.
Times change, the news keeps coming
It’s been a wild year for writing about Wellesley, from the public school system’s innovative viral testing program to protests against injustice to various efforts to squeeze some fun into our lives, such as via drive-in movies and graduation car parades (we even took our initial shot at parade banter). We even had an ice cream flavor named after our site courtesy of Truly’s.
Traffic on our site spiked as high as 10x the usual in March as COVID-19 emerged. Indeed, pandemic posts largely topped our list of most-read items for the year.
With well over a million page views per year, it’s clear that Wellesley (and beyond) is tuning into The Swellesley Report regularly.
Even as Swellesley got busier as the pandemic set in, we expanded our empire to include Natick with the launch of Natick Report on April 1. No, we didn’t come up with a name as clever as The Swellesley Report, but we’re approaching our news coverage the same way.
How you can help us: Contribute money, advertise & share news tips
When we’re talking above about thanking you for your support, we mean a few different things:
While we’re not a non-profit, we are a Small Business with a capital “S” in Small. Nearly three times as many of you (80+) sent contributions in 2020 as in 2019 to support our independent journalism venture, with a number of you signing on for monthly contributions. This helps to cover our web hosting and other software costs, not to mention compensates us for time spent covering the news (and watching endless town meetings online so that you don’t have to).
We have this question for you: Do you pay for a subscription to a news source? Publications like ours that put out daily content for free are increasingly turning to their readership and asking flat out: help us become a sustainable business.
In that spirit, we are asking you flat out right now: help The Swellesley Report become a sustainable business.
Share news tips
This includes not just the “Hey, my organization is doing a thing” announcements, but sharing documents from town or other organizations that don’t always divulge info directly to us, or from retailers that you patronize that are doing something new or unfortunately, closing shop. We thank high school and middle school students who contributed excellent articles to our mix. And our thanks also go to all of you who shared photos, the quirkier the better. I mean, we get around, but less so when the town and state are asking us to stick close to home. And as Bob likes to remind people, “I have a day job. I do Swellesley on the side…”
News tips: firstname.lastname@example.org
As you can see on our site we have dozens of advertisers. Some are with us all year long, some for shorter periods to promote one-off events. We are especially grateful to have so much advertiser support this year considering the challenges many of you faced, and hope we were able to help you stay in the public eye.
Here’s more on how to advertise on Swellesley.
As we head into 2021, we invite you to share your ideas for how we can do better on the news and business sides of things: email@example.com
And remember to sign up for our free daily email. That way, you’ll never miss a post.
Once more thank you, and here’s to another great year of local news coverage.
Deborah & Bob