Germantown Pulse Begins its Fifth Year of Bringing Local News to Local Readers
August is often seen as the end of summer, but here at the Germantown Pulse, it has always been about the beginning. The Pulse was founded in August of 2014, and we celebrate our fourth anniversary this month.
Since its founding Germantown Pulse has worked to bring local news, about sports and events to local residents and based on the response from the community, we’ve succeeded. In fact, the Pulse has published 2,622 local news stories since its inception in August of 2014. That is 655.5 per year, or about 12 stories each week. Every one of those stories have had a direct connection to a community local to Germantown or the UpCounty. Every one.
You might ask, “Why are you boasting about something that seems obvious?” You might think that goes without saying for a local news site. However, a recent study showed that in many communities across the United States the local news organizations cover very little local news.
According to the research from News Measures Research Project at Duke University, which analyzed more than 16,000 news stories across 100 U.S. communities with populations ranging from 20,000 to 300,000 people. Only about 17 percent of the news stories provided to a community are truly local — stories that are actually about or having taken place within the area they cover. Just 17 percent.
According to Philip Napoli, public policy professor at Duke and the lead author study on local news, just over half, 56 percent, of the news stories provided to a community by local media outlets address a critical information need, or was about categories such as “emergencies and risks,” “education,” “civic information.”
“There’s a lot of reporting on Jay-Z’s latest tweet, for example,” Napoli said in an interview with NiemanLab. “One thing we found was that even at the local media outlet level, Twitter and YouTube are fairly easy go-to sources of news. Celebrity news and information would come from various local news channels.”
Germantown Pulse doesn’t want to waste your time with news about events that happen outside of Germantown. Now, if Jay-Z tweets about Germantown we would cover it. We live in a world where information is everywhere, and if you want to know what celebrities are Tweeting, there are plenty of outlets that will provide that content for you. Germantown Pulse has never attempted to be anything more than what it says under the masthead on the site, “Your Source for Local News.”
Based on the response from our readers, it seems that the mandate to be local news for local residents, about local events is something that is desired. In the last year, since August 1, 2017, more than 292,493 unique visitors have come to GermantownPulse.net to get local news. In that same period, GermantownPulse.net has experienced 899,802 pageviews. While those numbers are not very high compared to a television station or radio station website, but when you consider that the target population for is no more than 200,000 people, the Pulse’s market penetration is pretty darned high. It is something that gives us great pride. That 292,493 number is a big jump from the 67,416 visitors which came to GermantownPulse.net in the first year it was up and running.
Of course, Germantown Pulse has a dynamic presence on social media and continues to gain followers every week. More than 10,000 people follow Germantown Pulse across our Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram platforms. The mailing list for our weekly e-newsletter continues to expand each week, as more and more residents become aware of all the news and information that Germantown Pulse provides to the community. And yes, we are still investigating the possibility of creating a smartphone app, which will allow readers to put the Pulse in the palm of their hands, and receive notifications of breaking news and when stories are posted.
Last year, we moved to a hybrid revenue model. It is an Ad-Driven and Voluntary Subscriber Model, where the Pulse would become a sort of public broadcasting station, which also relies on advertising. The content will remain free, but we asked readers to consider donating to help keep local independent news both local and independent.
Since that announcement, more than 25 residents and businesses have become Member Subscribers, donating at least $60 to help Germantown Pulse become better. We are ever so thankful for their support and the support of our many advertisers over the four years. For more information about becoming a member check out our Members Page.
As we begin our fifth year of coverage, as the County is facing the biggest election in over a decade, the need for independent local news coverage has never been more important. We are proud of what we’ve been able to accomplish in just four years. The Pulse has broken and covered some big stories over the last four years. Four years ago, the Pulse set out to become the “Voice of the UpCounty,” but more importantly, the Pulse has become a voice for the UpCounty.
We look forward to what this little website can become in the next four years.
Thank you to the Germantown community for your support. Thank you to the UpCounty. Thank you our readers, for continuing to come back and share our stories on social media.
We look forward to seeing everyone at the Germantown Community Day on Saturday, Aug. 25 from 11:00 am to 3:00 pm at Gunners Lake Local Park at 12671 Grey Eagle Court in Germantown.
The Pulse is humbled and inspired by your continued support of this little online news source. Thank you for your support — it is only with your help and support that we can continue to be the pulse of Germantown.