About the Author
Mike Kanin is the Publisher of the Austin Monitor. As such, he doesn't report on much--aside from the workings of the Monitor--any more. In his previous life as a freelance journalist, Kanin has written for the Washington City Paper, the Washington Post's Express, the Boston Herald, Boston's Weekly Dig, the Austin Chronicle, and the Texas Observer.
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Publisher’s Note: Tick Tock, the (new) Reporter’s Notebook and more numbers
A bit of exciting news from here in Monitorland: Today, we unveil one new regular feature and one updated regular column. Right after we go through a few details about each of these items, I will offer up a fresh set of user stats.
For some time, we have been flummoxed by my Council day Twitter feed. Each voting session, I produce a ton of content that then disappears into the greater ether of the Internet. Initially, we thought we would be able to capture all of it via the Storify interface, but after some experimentation, it became obvious that this would not quite do the trick.
Lucky for all parties, CoTMF (the parent nonprofit org of the Monitor) board member, polymath and all-around good guy Julio Gonzalez counts coding among his skills. He’s whipped up a thing we are calling Tick Tock. With it, All Access Monitor account holders will be able to click through an archive of my Twitter feed, item by item, and catch all of the observations, reporting, conversations and otherwise public interactions that I subject the greater world to via my Council live-tweeting.
We have also included color-coded tags for vote outcomes (red nay, green yea, etc.) that we believe will allow readers to quickly see who has taken what action on which item. Though we’ve posted our first Tick Tock on a Monday (today), expect to see this more regularly appear twice during a Council voting session week: Once at about 2 p.m. Thursdays, as an update about what we’ve seen so far during a meeting, and then a complete version with the rest of our Friday content.
As I said back there, this will be an All Access feature. However, we remain open to input about this as well as every aspect of the project.
We are also rolling out an updated version of our Reporter’s Notebook. This will be a regular feature that collects the (very) odds and ends we hear in the course of our reporting. Whispers will remain where (on the right-hand side, in case you’ve missed ’em) and as they are. Think of the Reporter’s Notebook as a supplemental selection of Whispers, all in one place. This will appear each Monday.
Now, numbers: From October through February, the Monitor held relatively steady at 50,000 monthly page views — the wholesale traffic figure not split out to look for individual users. March saw us climb above 70,000. This is likely attributable to two major factors: increased aggressive marketing and great content — including heavily read pieces on City boards and commission vacancies, MoPac construction and potential construction, and, of course, our coverage of the Zucker Report.
We saw user and session figures climb as well, from around 14,000 to over 22,000 users, and from between 23,000 and 27,000 sessions to more than 38,000. Again, we attribute this to more aggressive marketing and great content.
There is something fairly simple at work here: As more folks read more stories, they are more likely to hit our pay meter. As more of those stories appeal to more people, more people will become members of the site. We are now up to 773 members. That is closing in on double the amount we had when we started with the new site last August.
We’ll keep the push on in terms of new features and projects — we still have a bunch of exciting stuff up our sleeves before we remove that beta tag. You can continue to count on us for great stories in the meantime — and we’ll continue to do a better job of telling you about our work.
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