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UPDATE: Happy birthday, to us

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Today marks the one-year anniversary of The Sarnia Journal, which is an important milestone for your local independent newspaper.

When we set out 12 months ago our stated goal was to connect with the community by producing interesting stories and photography that matter to the people of Sarnia, Bright’s Grove, Point Edward and Corunna.

We hope we’ve done that, and today want to take a moment to thank all of our readers and advertisers for their tremendous support.

Yes, there were doubters. A free community weekly in an age of rapidly downsizing newspapers is a crazy idea, right?

But we believed – correctly, as it turns out – that Sarnia would embrace a publication that gives readers and advertisers what they want – an insight into the city we all call home.

And it’s been a ride.

Over the past year we increased our graphic arts abilities and expanded our pool of freelance writers.

Fifteen full-and-part-time editorial, sales and production staff now work at The Journal, a 50% increase in 12 months.

Our online presence has grown, primarily with local residents, but also among the large Sarnia ex-pat community hungry for news of home. Indeed, readers in 32 different countries were among the first 2,000 to “like” our Facebook page.

We’ve added a partner, distribution manager Marc Roberts, who now oversees 130 adult and youth carriers who deliver 30,000 copies of The Journal to homes and apartment buildings each week.

But, most importantly of all, we’ve been blessed with a lively and engaged readership, who like to share their story ideas and team photos, but who aren’t afraid to say so when we mess up.

Indeed, what makes the pages really come alive each week are the letter writers, guest columnists and photographers who share their thoughts and images.

The Journal began as a free publication – and to answer a frequently asked question – we intend to keep it that way. The business model is based entirely on advertising revenue, and readers can help by supporting our advertisers, and tell them when they see their ads.

Finally, we hope you enjoy reading The Journal as much as we do producing it. The goal for Year Two is to continue to grow as a publication by reporting even more stories about the events and people of our community, and telling them factually, fairly and with compassion.

So, a toast, to you dear reader. Thank you, from all of us, for a successful first year.

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