Communication Builds Our Community

Letter to Our Readers as We Celebrate 1st Anniversary as Your Local News Site recently celebrated our one-year anniversary. During our first year we published more than 1,200 stories and about 1,500 photos.

This online news site is still a volunteer venture. The editor, writers and photographers receive no compensation. Most of us consider it a public service and a labor of love. We hope you enjoy and will continue sharing it with others.

For those of you with time on your hands (like, most of you) now is the time to think about becoming a contributing writer. We have a VOICES section if you just want to offer your opinion on something.

You also are welcome to write periodic columns about your area/s of expertise. It's a good way for a professional to promote his or her business. You may notice we're not big on the breaking hard news like traffic tie-ups, car wrecks and minor arrests. We do try to serve as a watchdog of the public interest by covering local government. We especially like features and good news stories about local people.

Just send an email describing what you'd like to write about – or a finished story, preferably with at least one photo – to [email protected]. You can also call Executive Editor Chevon Baccus at 863-651-1065 to discuss your ideas. Even if you don't want to write, feel free to send story ideas for our consideration.

The Google Analytics service tracks our website traffic and offers us this insight into our readership:

- During the first three months of 2020 our site was visited by 40,114 readers – 15,782 in the month of March.

- Nearly 47 percent of our readers come from clicking on a Facebook post.

- Another 32 percent link to us through the NewsBreak app.

- Only 16 percent of our readers access us from a desktop computer; 78.5 percent use their mobile device and another 5.5 percent access us via a tablet.

- 72 percent of our readers are female

- About 45 percent of our readers are ages 45-64; one in five is age 65 or older

- Top interests of our readers include pets, food, TV, bargain shopping, family, books, salon visits and news and politics

- The single story with the highest readership (14,815) was "Community Mourns Loss of Jerry Miller, Popular Leader and Friend."

Due to the generosity of local businesses we can offer at no cost to our readers. For full access to the site we ask our readers to register with their name and email address. At some point in the future we may send out a newsletter with information about how to become a sponsor or contribute to keep our publication alive and thriving. And we are planning a reader survey so we can better understand your interests and concerns.

Thanks to our contributing writers, who have written at least one story for us: Drew Truitt, Robert Connors, Trey Heath, Nancy Gossard, Mary Walkup, Cynthia Rignanese, Cassie Jacoby, Mike Carter, Fawn Germer, Kevin Kieft, Beverly Lynn, Brian Ackley, Brian Ulch, Susan Craig, Bob Stephens, Michael Wilder, John Walldorf, Curtis Gibson, Sean Mallot, Kent Lilly, Shauna Krout, Dr. Virgil Ullom, Juanita Zwaryczuk, Robert Bullock, Tina Peak, Karen Thompson, Tracy Robert, Cynthia J. Turner, Alex DePrimo, Abby Crawford, Chris McCray, Danielle LaBossiere, Connie McDougall, David Williams, Edith Stango, Eric Draper, Gaye Harlowe, Palmer Wood, Sara Jones, Terri Miller, Troy Schulze and to the late Wade Jakeway, Jeff Roslow and Wanda Howard.

Special thanks to our charter sponsors who enabled us to offer as a free publication: Lake Wales Medical Center/Advent Health Lake Wales, Long's Dry Cleaners, Century 21 At Your Service Realty, Lilly & Brown, Christina Richards State Farm, Attorney Tonya Stewart, Lake Wales Little Theatre, and Lake Wales History Museum. Other sponsors have included Quality Insurance, Lake Wales Care Center and Kathryn's Christian Books, Lake Wales Arts Council, Peterson Cleaners, Norby's Steak & Seafood, The Crooked Bass, Junior's Fish Market, Bellies-2-Babies, DePalma Real Estate, Lake Wales Christian Counseling, Low Payment Kings/Lake Wales Chrysler Dodge Jeep, Henderson's Containers, Rural King. In-kind supporters are INC INC, Williamson Photography of Lake Wales, Park Avenue Executive Suites, and Massage is Therapy – John Walldorf, LMT.

When you talk to these sponsors please thank them for their support.

PS: Special thanks to my business partner and Associate Editor Drew Truitt, who has written many great stories and enlisted a majority of our sponsors, and to Mike Baccus, who supports me and handles our books.


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