Leadville Today Marks 4 Yrs, Launches 2nd News Site!
On November 1, 2015 Leadville Today celebrates four years of publishing good news and daily online information about the Leadville and Lake County community. It’s been a privilege to write about the things that remind you of the reasons you choose to live, visit, or invest here. Your support, contributions and encouragement have been invaluable: Thank You!!
A Note from the Publisher, Kathy Bedell
What a journey! And while it’s far from over, reflecting back on these past four years of creating, nurturing and growing this online news source has been a great privilege and labor of love! The list of lessons and personal thank yous that have accumulated over that time seems endless and something I’m more likely to share in a private manner. However, I did want to post some exciting news, and a bit of insight about Leadville Today. So thanks for reading!
For those who may not know, Leadville Today (LT) is owned by The Great Pumpkin – my media company located in Leadville. Over the past year, as LT’s readership has grown substantially, The Great Pumpkin has been approached by people from neighboring communities, asking if a similar news format could be started in their town.
Those requests are not a big surprise. For many living in rural areas, finding FREE reliable news and timely, online information about what’s happening on main street can be a challenge.
Sure, readers can access plenty of news about what’s happening on the front range or even in the world at large, thanks to the internet. However, notices about the school play, a fundraiser for the library or an important decision being made by local government are still often relayed in small towns via the old-school manner: flyer, local newspaper (if there’s still one left) or everybody’s favorite – the post office. And that’s great! That’s the kind of friendly exchange people live in small communities to experience.
And I am not suggesting that those interactions go away, but there’s always room for improvement when it comes to communication. For many small towns, it’s not just about the exchange within the community, but also it’s online presence and reputation. In fact, these can matter just as much, if not more so, when it comes to economic development and business recruitment.
When Leadville Today started four years ago, if you were to do an online search for this community, there were three things that dominated the results: the “tazing of the kids at the high school” story, the disastrous Leadville Mine Drainage Tunnel situation, and the Jihad Jane story that would not go away. These reports just kept giving Leadville a black eye – one that the mainstream media would not let heal.
As a journalist, this unbalanced representation was tough to see, but its effect went far beyond how locals felt about it. Ultimately, if you were a teacher, a perspective business owner, or someone planning a Rocky Mountain vacation and you did a search for Leadville, many times the results warranted a “no thanks” decision about Lake County. And quite frankly, our reputation among some of our neighboring resort communities wasn’t much better. Granted it wasn’t all bad, but the stories that seemed to post online did not put things in the best light and tended to be a bit sensational.
Things are a bit different now. And not just because LT publishes daily good news, it also monitors Leadville’s online reputation. Without getting into the intricacies of algorithms and analytics, when it comes to social media the conversation about Leadville and Lake County is happening far beyond the post office, city hall or the courthouse. It’s happening across the country and around the world! Leadville Today is making sure that a positive, factual perspective is being represented on these blogs and posts, answering questions and providing accurate, reliable information about our community.
Over the past year, Leadville Today took another pro-active step in putting out good local news by establishing several media partnerships. Our collaboration with Events in Colorado, Mountain Town Magazine and Colorado Central Magazine, to name a few, provides other statewide platforms to promote the good things happening up here. Whether LT is tweeting with Matt Renoux from 9News or sharing a rooftop shot of Mt. Elbert for a Colorado Springs TV weather segment, people are getting a clearer view about what things are all about at 10,200 feet! The plan is working and those relationships will continue to strengthen in 2016.
So, what’s next?
Leadville Today is on solid ground. Oh, it’s not perfect; assuredly there are enough “community” editors who keep the misspellings and facts in check. And as most business owners know, there is always a list of things to do, change, upgrade, etc. But it’s also important to know when it’s time for a lateral move.
Fortunately, that opportunity has been found in a small town in the San Luis Valley: Saguache, Colorado. And so it is with much excitement that The Great Pumpkin announces the official launch of Saguache Today!
An interesting choice? No doubt, when you consider that this agricultural and farming community has a population of less than 500, although it is the county seat for more than 7,000 residents who also live in the region. Add to its quaint size, the fact that in 2009, following decades of economic decline, a plethora of boarded-up storefronts and abandoned downtown buildings, Saguache’s business district had earned a “Most Endangered Place” designation from the Colorado Preservation, Inc.
But that was before. That was before my friend and mentor Marge Hoglin decided to put her sights on the revitalization of this community. Fast forward to Saguache 2015 and you will find a vibrant, thriving downtown, the result of many people’s efforts and dedication. Over several years and many visits to Saguache, the timing for The Great Pumpkin to jump in seemed, not only right, but the right thing to do. So here we go!
Please check out the site, get familiar with this beautiful rural community, situated in the San Luis Valley between the Sangre de Cristos and San Juan Mountain Ranges! I also know that some of you already have connections to this area, so feel free to contribute! Some of the website and social media platform kinks are still being ironed out, but like Leadville Today, Saguache Today will grow organically and slowly, gaining trust and integrity among its citizens.
Of course, this wouldn’t even be possible with the relationships already in place through Saguache Works, Hoglin’s business. During a meeting last month in Saguache with local business owners, residents, and community representatives from the chamber and town, the enthusiasm was evident concerning Saguache Today. The local people have come together and done great things, now they just need some help to spread the word to a larger audience.
So, it’s time to celebrate! Of course, Leadville Today will continue its commitment to providing good news and important information to Leadville and Lake County, as well as to the larger, online community. Our staff is growing and so is the list of community contributors with cell phones at-the-ready to report and share the good news.
As always you can connect with Leadville Today via social media on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, or simply drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org. Did you know that you can also subscribe for free to receive an email notification for daily LT Latest News? Look for the sign up at the top left of this post!
I also ask you to consider placing an advertisement on this FREE news source for readers. Did you know that an average of 800 people a day log on to the LT website, and our social media reach easily exceeds 25,000 a week? Leadville Today banner advertising is the best bang for your marketing buck – and affordable (INFO).
Thanks for all of your support these past 4 years and for coming along, as we move forward with “the history of Leadville in our hearts and the future of Leadville in our hands: Leadville Today!”