Monday, December 20, 2010

A revolutionary year at the Daily Freeman

Journal Register Company CEO John Paton's message to employees (and the world) this morning, "What a difference a year makes," includes a video (I want that video editor, btw) that sums up his message pretty neatly.

In short, we sucked before and now we rule (I think I'm paraphrasing). And yes, I am very well aware it's been difficult.

If you look pretty intensely and paused the video a lot (I really mean a lot), you can see half my blurry face for half a second:

You can also see my blurry face for less than a tenth of a second:

What's my point?
I am an egotistical maniac.
Now that we've established the obvious, let's share some cool accomplishments:

Here at the Daily Freeman, in the 10 months since Paton took over the parent company:

* We've gone from offering zero videos (that's 0 for the numerically inclined) to 866 and counting.
* The website has been transformed from a static reproduction of the paper to an organic, ever updated site, and you have noticed. Our monthly unique visitors have grown more than 50 percent. We had close to  200,000 monthly unique visitors in November, our best month to date.
* We've upgraded our systems and equipment by leaps and bounds, from this (note the MiniDisk slot on the 1990s PowerPC):

To this (note the iPad, netbook, Flip camera, laptop, tiny toilet behind them):

* Our reporters have published a gazillion stories (that's the technical term), many right after news happened and from the field with an Android, an iPad, a netbook or laptops. And we've published more stories than before: Five and a half million stories since February (compared to 3.3 million for the same period a year ago).
* Our roster of bloggers went from four to 38 and counting (we added two more last week).
* Our engagement efforts have multiplied dramatically. The Freeman itself wasn't even on Facebook a year ago. We've actually used your help to create some stories, in many cases, in new and innovative ways (check out the crowdsourced path of Billy Joel in the Hudson Valley)
* We've used new tools to complement stories, including live video streams, live twitter coverage and have published primary documents with Scribd.
* Have I ever mentioned the Idealab?

There's tons that I'm forgetting. But the good part is, there's tons more coming. And sooner than you can say "you're a crazy egomaniac!"

I'll keep you posted.