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After Three Years, the Only Constant is Change: Navigating a Challenging Landscape



August 1 marked the official three-year anniversary of the Germantown Pulse.

In those first weeks after August 1, the Germantown Pulse didn’t have much in terms of readership. In that first month just 1,723 unique visitors came to www.GermantownPulse.net, and the newborn website had just 3,810 pageviews for the entire month of August.

Since then, the Pulse has worked hard to cover as much of the news in the Germantown area as possible, from fires to motor-vehicle collisions, from crime to high school graduations, through blizzards, flooding, and sweltering heat, state championship and candlelight vigils. It if happened in the Germantown area, it has been part of the Pulse.

This past June Germantown Pulse attracted 61,202 unique visitors, according to Google Analytics. More than 60,000 people read local news on Germantown Pulse that is 60 percent of the population of the Germantown area. The site had 126,191 pageviews in June.

Thanks to an amazing community that has shared the Pulse’s stories on FaceBook and Twitter, or talked to their neighbors about this new site called the Pulse, it has grown stronger and more powerful. Our readership has grown exponentially. The Pulse has grown thanks to a community that cares about the neighborhoods they live in and want local news and local sports reports about local people and local neighborhoods.

There have been many changes to the Germantown Pulse in three years. The addition of a Sports section, an Editorial Section, the new HUB Community Calendar, and the newest change, added just today, the Subscribe section. But, more on that in a bit.

Much of our audience growth is the result of good reporting and focus on local news. However, another big reason is the news desert that is Montgomery County since the closing of the Gazette newspapers. And yesterday, that desert got a bit drier as another independent online news site announced that it would end publication.

Yesterday, it was announced that the RockvilleView has stopped publication. Another sad day for the county. RockvilleView was very much like Germantown Pulse. Independent news written for local folks, by local folks. It was like hundreds of online news sites throughout the country. Many of which are taking up where local newspapers have closed or been eaten up by major media conglomerates.

In June, Germantown Pulse achieved a record breaking 61,202 unique visitors. A record month, which saw an unimaginable tragedy and Germantown Pulse was there. The Pulse was there on the scene of the robbery which precipitated the horrible string of events the led to a community tragedy. The Pulse was there in Washington, D.C. at graduation the next day. The Pulse was there at the press conference when police officials asked for the public’s help. The Pulse was there for the vigil held at the high school. The Pulse was there to livestream the announcement of the arrests of the three people accused of the heinous crime.

All the work of one reporter following one story. No staff. No producer. No day shift, no night shift. One reporter.

More than 60,000 people turned to GermantownPulse.net to follow that horrible story. Our Facebook posts reached 59,200 people, and our stories were shared over 400 times.

That story got a lot of media attention. Large media companies swooped in and covered Germantown for a few days and when they news shifted elsewhere in the region they moved on. Germantown Pulse cares deeply about providing timely and accurate information to the UpCounty community. There is always news. There is always other stories to tell about our wonderful community. The Pulse be on the case. And will continue to be on the case long after regional media interest has moved on to other stories.

As many of you know, the Germantown Pulse is an independent entity. The Pulse is not owned by a corporation or media conglomerate. It is a small business, a privately owned L.L.C. The Pulse is your neighbor, working to bring neighborhood news to you.

The harsh truth of the economic reality is that without community support the future of the Germantown Pulse is also uncertain.

We love and thank our advertisers and hope that all our readers will join us in supporting them and frequenting them. They are local businesses trying to be successful. Without our advertisers Germantown Pulse would have stopped production within the first 18 months.

The Germantown Pulse has just one full-time employee who reports, writes, edits, updates social media, takes photos, edits photos, updates the website, designs the website, replies to reader questions, sells the ads, and often designs the ads. There is just not enough hours in the week for one person to cover the news and sports and sell enough advertising to keep this company moving forward. More money has been spent on gas to travel to take photos of crime scenes, high school athletic events, and general news assignments than the Pulse has made in advertising revenue since it started back in August of 2014.