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Thanks for a great 2010; 2011 should be even better

By: 1 January 2011 No Comment

I started First Arkansas News in April 2010 in hopes of posting some news now and again, attracting the talents of a few good writers and finding an audience.

This little site realized all those goals and more. Our audience keeps growing as evidenced by the increasing number of unique monthly hits, the number of people following us on Facebook and Twitter and the every-increasing number of subscribers to our email updates (the most convenient way to keep up with what we’re doing, by the way) and RSS feed.

The following, then, is a brief rundown of some of those good things that happened around here in 2010:

* 167,804 unique visits from April 16 through the end of December. Frankly, I would have been happy if we managed 100,000 visits over our first 12-month period. We whipped the socks off of that projection when we passed the 100,000 unique visitors mark at the end of November. In December, First Arkansas News received over 58,000 unique visits.

* We broke a few stories and have scads of unique content. Most of us writing for the site are either former or current journalists and a good number of us have won an Arkansas Press Association award or two. Hopefully, that means we’ve got the news sense to produce those articles that people want to read.

* ‘Lum and Abner’ show — alive and well in 2010. This is one of the first “big” stories that appeared here and is all about an Arkansas comedy team that enjoyed significant national success.

* Lana Flowers‘ top-notch Wal-Mart coverage. It’s hard to figure out whether to call is “Walmart” or “Wal-Mart” anymore, but the Bentonville company has a huge impact on Arkansas’ economy. One of Flowers’ Wal-Mart stories wound up as the most visited post in 2010 — a rundown of entertainers booked for the annual shareholders’ meeting in Bentonville.

* We broke a couple of political stories that no one else had (and irritated some politicians and their followers, to boot). Yes, First Arkansas News was the first publication to post articles about the allegations of campaign sign theft and an improper use of the Rogers mayor’s office for campaign purposes in the 3rd district congressional race and the arrest of a Beebe alderman for (you guessed it) swiping campaign signs.

* Griped about uTorrent. We took some fire over this one from both Bittorrent and some uTorrent fans. Still, it was a story worth reporting — what wants to be tricked into installing a browser toolbar, anyway?

* Put together a lot of regular features. We started with a series on old time radio programs and the always-resourceful Jamie Smith started on a series about Arkansas authors. Marci Nobles dreamed up the Someone’s in the Kitchen with Marci recipes series and a series was launched in mid-December featuring regular columns from pastors (yes, we’ll expand on that one as we go).

* Solid coverage from Theresa Komor. While it would be great if Komor sent in more stories (hint, hint), she’s one of those people who only turns in an article when she’s got something important to say.

* Edwin Smith and I have been developing a secret project we like to call the Super Weasel Lawyer Team. We should start posting the resorts of our labor some time this year. What is The Super Weasel Lawyer team project? Stay tuned to find out. Here’s a hint — there’s a reason we set up an iTunes account and I am an unashamed fan of old time radio. Ought to be fun.

* Our Arkansas real estate coverage is second to none. Yeah, that’s right. I said it — it’s true, so why not?

Well, there are just a few things we’ve achieved this year. In our view, 2010 was a year to get organized and start defining what this site will be. We’re getting close to defining what First Arkansas News will be like in the future, but that’s just fine — a lot of online publications are trying to figure out how to make their sites viable and we’re no different in that regard.

Yes, 2010 was a great year for us and that’s due to our supporters, our audience and some great writers who are working hard and not getting paid for their efforts (we do have a plan in place that might change that but don’t worry — our content will always be available for free). So, thank you to our visitors and please keep stopping by and visiting.

About: Ethan C. Nobles:
Benton resident. Rogue journalist. Recovering attorney. Email = Ethan@FirstArkansasNews.net.

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