November 2, 2010

MarylandReporter.com celebrates its first birthday

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MarylandReporter.com officially launched a year ago today, sending out its first official daily e-blast newsletter to about 3,300 people. We began with a soft launch in mid-October 2009, sending e-mails to a limited number of folks, after being incorporated as a Maryland nonprofit on Sept. 2, 2009.

We’d like to thank all those many people who helped to get us started and keep us going, including the Franklin Center for Government and Public Integrity, and the sponsors, donors and charter members listed on our website.

Because of the support of our donors and sponsors, we were able to make our $10,000 match for this year, but we know we’ll need more support next year.

We’d also like to thank those who wrote kind words for our testimonials, and the 118 people who responded to our reader survey several weeks ago.

Based on those responses and our own plans, we hope to make the site more interactive, making it easier for you to comment and increasing the amount of dialogue.

Over the weekend, editor Len Lazarick and associate editor Megan Poinski spent several days at the Online News Association conference in Washington, D.C.

We were holed up in the subterranean levels of the Renaissance Hotel as several hundred thousand people attended the Jon Stewart rally on the Mall.

Almost a thousand people were at the conference — big guys like NPR, CNN, the BBC, The New York Times and the Washington Post, but also hundreds of smaller operations like our own. Some of the smaller online news operations have been operating for years, and struggling to survive. Others like the Texas Tribune are new but well-funded by Texas millionaires.

Thousands of online websites now produce journalism, and more are on the way as big companies like AOL launch Patch.com and underemployed journalists — like I was — launch new sites.

We learned a lot at the conference, and hope this new knowledge will help us to improve how we serve you.

Finally, we’d like to thank the scores of working journalists in Maryland whose articles we link to every day in the State Roundup. Even though their ranks are diminished, they continue to produce great quantities of stories about state government and politics. We know from our survey and your continuing comments that having all that coverage at your fingertips is an important reason that you continue to subscribe to our daily newsletter and visit our website.