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Publisher’s Note: 2015, 2016

Thursday, December 31, 2015 by Michael Kanin

I was recently given the advice that such phrasing as “let me be honest” or “honestly” implies that everything else one’s said is not, and so I won’t begin this note that way. Instead I’ll try this: I wasn’t quite sure if we’d be here to greet you all on New Year’s Eve 2015. I mean, I was pretty sure — optimistic even — that things would go well. But we were staring significant organizational growth in the face without any hard evidence (I’m sure that you all understand the relative mysticism that comes with forecasts and projections) that we’d be able to pull it off.

So color me plum tickled that we are, indeed, still here. This, of course, is thanks entirely to you. “You” donors have provided a foundation for us to expand our reach and fulfill our mission. “You” subscribers have bought in — wholeheartedly, I think — to the notion that a local focus in news is important enough that you’ll pay for it. “You” attendees of our bimonthly “Beers, Brains and Betterment” series and our annual CitySummit have proved that there is room for a locally focused discussion. “You” media partners have boosted our ability to cover our region and partnered with us on a series that took another angle to the familiar growth story — one that I am personally extremely proud of –in “Austin’s Easter Frontier.” “You” writers and editors have constantly delivered remarkable content at an ever-increasing pace. “You” CoTMF development and board folks have fueled it all with, given the industry-scape, something that might be best classified as a refreshing sort of vigor.

And so before I descend into stats, I’ll offer a very sincere thank you from a very humbled publisher. And with it, I’ll look forward to 2016 and say that we plan to be here for quite a while.

With that, the stats: On Aug. 18, 2014, when we first launched the redesign of the Austin Monitor‘s website, we boasted 406 subscribing members. Last year at this time, we had 650. We’re now up to just over 1,100. As for traffic, over the past 12 months we’ve averaged about 26,471 monthly users taking in a little over 43,300 sessions and enjoying 77,530 page views. (These numbers are all according to Google Analytics and are limited by the parameters therein.)

Our user and session peak happened in July, when 46,131 users stopped by for 64,038 sessions. Our 2015 page views peaked in September at 103,549. I’ll note that, though these figures have tailed off some over the past few months, we’re still well above where we were last year at this time. (December 2014, for example, saw just 13,444 users initiating 24,956 sessions and taking in 50,526 page views).

I’ll also note that some of the subscription membership uptick can be attributed to a pilot program we’ve kicked off with our friends at Google Fiber called “Austin Monitor in the Classroom.” With it, students at Lanier High School and Austin Achieve Public School — a charter on Manor Road east of the Mueller development — are using Monitor content to supplement their existing classroom regimens. We hope to expand this program as we look forward to 2016.

There can be little doubt that this uptick comes also thanks to the existing media partnerships we hold with KXAN, KUT and KOOP. These folks are kind enough to both lend us their airwaves and work with us on collaborative reporting efforts. I’d guess that you’ll see much more of this in 2016.

I’ll turn now to the Basics. We’re now about six months overdue with this segment of our efforts — what we plan as a home for basic interactions and data relating to your local governmental entities. And I swear that we’re close. Either way, we’ll have something for you to play with by the end of January. I remain pretty stoked about all this — and I think it will ultimately be worth your wait.

We’ve also seen a few recent hiccups with our log-in system. I’m pleased to report that none of this appears to be systemwide. However, if you are still having an issue (any kind of issue) trying to log on to the site, please let me know via email at Michael [dot] Kanin [at] COTMF [dot] org.

While I’m on the topic of logging in, I’ll hint that we continue to evaluate our subscription rates and levels of access. There may be more on this topic in the coming months. We’ve also added a page that should allow you to update your credit card info, change your sub level and that sort of thing without the hassle of a phone call to yours truly. That can be found at www.austinmonitor.com/my-account. Please let me know if you have any issues (but be sure that you are logged in first).

I’ll end on an anticlimactic couple of notes: First, I’ll remind you all that our newsletter service — the free emails that we send each morning and afternoon — is somewhat separated from your sub. So, if you’d like to get emails from us, one at 7 a.m.  with all of our headlines and a second at about midday with a roundup of news from around the state, please go here. Again, this is a totally free service.

Second, I’ll underscore the notion that we want to continue to hear from you. Like something? Let us know. Want more of it? Let us know. Want less of something? Let us know. Know something that we should know? Let us know. Best way to do all that is to use our feedback button, which is here. If you’d prefer to remain anonymous, please put “anonymous” in the name field.

Welp, I’ve eaten up 900 (and counting) words. Thanks again for this past year, and thanks for reading.

Onward!

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