Great Falls Greats 2021, The Electric’s 4th anniversary and a thank you
The last year has gone by slowly, and quickly, all at the same time in some strange time warp.
But here we are again in June for our second annual Great Falls Greats contest.
Last year was our first go at such a contest and we had a blast celebrating the things we love about our town and seeing the community support their favorite spots.
It’s the second annual contest and we’re making a few changes.
This year’s contest will open for voting on June 1 and run through June 13.
We’ve kept the same categories as last year, with a few new ones.
This year, for the repeat categories, we made those multiple choice with the top three winners from each category last year, plus the option to write in something else.
Winners will be announced June 21 and we’re encouraging everyone to get out and about June 24-27 to check out the winning items, shops and people, and enjoy the multiple downtown events those days.
The year since our last contest was a wild ride, with mask mandates case increases, school closures, canceled events, deaths, stress, anxiety and frustration.
Here at The Electric, that stress, anxiety and frustration was intense. It’s still a one-woman show and I’m not sure I’ve had a good night’s sleep in more than a year.
But, we’ve made it to The Electric’s fourth anniversary and though it was a tough year, there were so many bright spots with the community showing how much it values local news.
Over the last year, newspapers have been closing or consolidating nationwide and the loss of quality local journalism is nothing short of a crisis.
Much can be said about the state of the news industry and I certainly have strong opinions on the matter, but good local journalism is critical to functional civic life.
The Electric still focuses on what many consider boring: local government meetings, code changes, budgets, taxes, land use decisions, etc. Those are the things you pay for and that, whether you realize it or not, affect much of community life.
There’s not much fluff here and the goal is to report facts and information to help you, the citizen and voter, engage in your government, community and make informed decisions. Though we did have a little fun with features like Dogsgiving, the holiday gift guide and our video about what makes our community great since we all needed some joy.
The Electric fared far better than so many local news outlets over the last year and saw page views and followers increase significantly. In 2020, we had more than a half million page views and just about doubled page views and unique readers over the previous year.
I truly don’t put much stock in metrics, but that level of growth in a time of crisis was humbling and gratifying to me and often kept me going when I was running on empty.
Even in the tough year, more businesses came to me to advertise, more readers subscribed and mailed in contributions. Some of you sent notes with your contributions and I’ve kept every one of them. Many of them are tacked on my cork board above my desk and on tough days, those notes are my motivation, inspiration and reminders to keep going.
Now at the four year mark, my goals for the coming year include generating enough revenue to hire a dedicated education reporter and possibly add some sports coverage. In partnership with Jason Laird, we’ve added daily weather forecasts with plans to grow that into some broader weather related stories.
I said this last year and I’ll say it again, to those of you who have been here since the early days, thank you. To the advertisers and contributors who believed in this from the beginning, thank you. To the friends and family who have been sounding boards, mentors, editors and constant supporters, thank you.
To those of you who found The Electric along the way, thank you.
To the new readers, advertisers and contributors, thank you.
To those of you who send notes of thanks and encouragement, share stories and encourage friends to follow The Electric, thank you.
I don’t say it enough and rarely have the time to send the individual thank you notes you deserve, but all of you are a part of keeping The Electric going.