Thursday, March 15, 2007

A year of evolution, growth and change

What started as an uncertain experiment has now endured for a year. Back on March 15, 2006, I didn't know whether this blog would last a day or a week, let alone a year.

The Capital Press has a long and proud tradition of thinking outside traditional boundaries and expanding into new areas, reaching out to readers in new ways. A newspaper that started out to serve the Hollywood neighborhood in Salem, Ore., has undergone a name change and a change from covering community news or covering agriculture. It has grown from covering a neighborhood and one city to four states and beyond. With print subscribers in all 50 states to a global reach on the Internet, the staff of the Capital Press has taken some bold steps since its founding in 1928 as the Hollywood Press.

But when Blogriculture was established, there may have been a few people in the Capital Press family that thought I had sniffed too many photo chemicals early in my career.

I certainly had my share of doubts. I wasn't finding very many agriculture-related blogs out there at the time. Finding agriculture blogs was a challenge, but blogs related to West Coast agriculture was even more rare..

The blogroll has grown over the last year. And the number of people contributing to the blog has grown too. One year ago, I was also looking for agriculture related podcasts, now we have our own podcast, that's four (or 5) months old and 15 episodes strong.

Our effort and success has been modest. We've had about 7,800 visits in a year's time, which is about equivalent to one-sixth of the subscribers our printed paper has in a week, or about the number of unique visitors our website gets every six days.

But web traffic isn't the only measure of success. For those of us here at Capital Press, it has opened our eyes, and our minds. to new options and opportunities. We've explored topics on the fringe of agriculture, like rodeo coverage and rural life topics that might never have been covered in our print paper. We've supplemented our coverage of event with blog posts. We've previewed first drafts of editorials and columns on our blog before they made it into the printed paper. We've published other pieces that we thought were interesting, but not necessarily a perfect fit for our printed paper. We've made some cyber friends and acquaintances here in Oregon and across the country.

We hope you've enjoyed some of our posts here. I'm looking forward to seeing how the next year evolves here at Blogriculture and on our site as well as in the printed newspaper. Agriculture is evolving too, and we hope you will join us in the dialogue about what is good about those changes, what may be bad about them and how the changing world is affecting the people who work in and around agriculture.

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