Like this Newspaper? Here's How You Help Us Grow, Improve, and Stick Around
Do you like us? We like you!
And we love Covington, the River Cities, Northern Kentucky, and our great Commonwealth.
Most of all, we love telling our region's story all day every day.
I'm going to cut to the chase here: We've launched a subscription model on the site today and we want you to be a subscriber. It's $5 a month for access to all of the stories that we work so hard to bring you every day, stories that you usually won't find anywhere else even though they are immensely important to the people that other publications purport to serve.
In fact, The River City News is the ONLY full-time newsroom based in Northern Kentucky.
Think about that.
A region of more than 300,000 people has just one full-time newsroom and it's a fledgling start-up that launched at a kitchen table, now operates out of a storage room inside a coffee shop, and managed to raise some capital last year to bring on a total of four full-time writers and land a coveted storefront on Madison Avenue (coming next month to the Mutual Building on Madison Avenue!).
I launched The River City News as a blog covering Covington City Hall in the summer of 2011 unsure of what I was doing or why I was doing it. RCN, as readers dubbed it, swiftly became an important platform for information and conversation in Covington and by the fall of 2012, I made the decision to pursue it full-time, changing it from a blog to a digital newspaper site, and then in 2013 started to cover the other urban cities along the Ohio River: Newport, Bellevue, and Dayton in Campbell County, and Ludlow in Kenton County. I also added Taylor Mill because of its close relationship with South Covington.
I pursued investors in 2014 and was fortunate enough to convince a bold, risk-taking crowd that, despite the national narrative, "Newspapers are the future!"
As you can imagine, that was not an easy sell.
But know this: I believe that.
Yes, I believe that newspapers are the past, present, and future home of the best journalism in a community. The business has evolved and continues to evolve, but one thing is still true, and possibly truer now than ever: people want to know what is happening and they want to know all the time.
So that's what we do. We tell you, as best we can and with the hope of doing it even better, what is happening.
Finding a sustainable model for a new media start-up is a challenge but I strongly believe, now more than ever, that one traditional requirement of a successful daily newspaper like ours is buy-in from the readership. For $5 a month you will have full access to all of the stories we work passionately to bring you each day. You'll get 5 freebies every month and we'll never include news releases or aggregated (gathered and linked from other sources) stories in our "premium content", but to have access to all of the great, professional content we bring you each day, you'll want to become a subscriber.
Quick newspaper business lesson: How are you reading this story? Desktop or mobile? Chances are, you're holding my words in the palm of your hand right now. 70% of our audience is on a mobile device and that number continues to grow for all publishers and what that means is with a smaller screen there are fewer opportunities for placement of digital advertisements. Advertising digitally is still effective if done well (and we have lots of great, creative opportunities for that, too, so email us!) but with limited volume, another revenue stream is necessary.
In June, The River City News will turn 4-years old. Some of you have been reading RCN since the beginning and I hope it's just as exciting for you as it is for me to bear witness to the growth. I remember when I was so pumped that an article got 500 views. Now we have 150,000 unique users every month. It used to be just me with a laptop and some worn out shoes racing all over town, but now I am grateful to have Jerod Theobald, Bryan Burke, and Chuck Beatty at my side inside the office every day.
And now we're coming to Madison Avenue with our first very own space right in the middle of Downtown Covington's revitalization efforts. As our region rebounds and grows out of a long troubled economy, so does The River City News.
That's my favorite part of this: We don't just tell Northern Kentucky's story. We're part of that story, too.
We want to be part of that story for many more birthdays to come and hope that you will join us for the ride.
Here's our promise: We will continue to get better, be more aggressive, and spread out even farther into Northern Kentucky in our quest to be the region's News Leader. We already attend every government and school board meeting in the Northern Kentucky River Cities, we cover the Kenton & Campbell Fiscal Courts, local high school and college sports, breaking news, and crime stories. I believe that my team covers those areas as well as anyone -- but we want to get better and we want to go deeper. With this new membership model, we will.
I don't want to ramble on, but if you want to know more, email me and I'll be happy to discuss. I love talking about Northern Kentucky and The River City News. I hope that we talk about it together for many more years to come.
This is one special corner of the world and I love being a part of the ambitious organization that tells its story better than anyone.
To subscribe, click here.
Michael Monks, editor & publisher