I-T, a spry 132
When my great-grandfather Harry Granice took over the reins of The Sonoma Index-Tribune in 1884, he wrote that it "...is the only newspaper that gives a damn about Sonoma Valley." A fiery, outspoken community booster, great-grandpa Harry dedicated himself and his family to publishing the best and most comprehensive newspaper anywhere.
This month, at the ripe old age of 132, our family-owned and operated newspaper is still dedicated to that purpose, and we have many state and national awards that offer testimony to the quality of our efforts.
Not only is the I-T one of the best community newspapers in the state, SONOMA the website and SONOMA magazine, were both honored with first place awards in this year's California Newspaper Publishers Association Better Newspapers competition. We also publish a daily, Sonoma News eBlast that goes out to more than 5,600 readers. And apparently our readers have been paying attention.
We just downloaded the first month's reader statistics for our new SONOMA website and compared them to our previous site. Our readers are up 18 percent, and our page views are up 55 percent. These figures, even more than our awards, tell us that our community values what we produce.
All of us here at the I-T work very hard to earn your loyalty and respect. And the best way we measure that is in readership. By that measure, we are a huge success. The I-T's print circulation is holding steady at 8,000, while SONOMA, the website, had more than 75,000 visitors last month who opened and read more than 250,000 pages.
But here's the catch: SONOMA the website is free, we don't charge people to read it (we tried that several months back and it didn't work). Yet not a day goes by without many people, groups and businesses asking us to publish their story, their article, their announcement, all expecting that we can do this without getting paid. And most of the time, we say yes, because we believe we should.
So here we are, after 132 years, a resounding success by one measure, and barely scraping by if you measure the business side.
Being the editor-in-chief and publisher of The Sonoma Index-Tribune is still the best job in the world and I'm grateful to be able to come to work every day in the community I love.
I have just a couple of requests: First, if those who read our newspaper and website made a special effort to shop with the businesses who advertise with us, that would help everyone concerned because those advertisers are the precious customers who keep us in business. And second - please subscribe. Other than advertising, subscriptions to our newspaper are the only things we have to sell. If everybody who read local news for free on our website would subscribe to our newspaper, we'd be in pretty good shape.
This is still a small town, and, after 132 years, we're still a small, family business dependent on the goodwill and patronage of our Sonoma Valley neighbors, friends and customers.
Thank you for standing by us for all this time. We look forward to making it to 133 and beyond.