Happy New Year from The Electric

This year felt like a sprint and a slog all at the same time.

Most of the time, it felt like I was barely keeping my head above water and the year seemed to have a different kind of heaviness that I haven’t figured out yet.

But, it was also full of goodness and The Electric had a year I’m very proud of.

In 2020, The Electric nearly doubled web traffic over 2019. Last year, we not only sustained that number, but topped it.

This year, we grew by 31 percent, nearly 200,000 views over last year, and visitors grew by 100,000.

For a local news company of one, who covers local government and business development, that’s a pretty hefty increase and continues to prove my belief in the value of good local journalism.

To all of you, thank you.

Thank you for reading, thank you for sharing and telling your friends to read too.

Thank you to those of you who advertise, subscribe and contribute.

That said, it’s still a challenge getting people to read and pay attention to things that we believe are important, such as policy changes, taxes, budgets and development.

It’s disheartening to hear people say they didn’t know about something that I’ve written about, usually more than once, but it just means I’ll be working even harder to grow The Electric’s audience and expand our coverage.

That said, a plan is coming together for sports coverage, which I hope to be rolling out in the coming months.

Other highlights of 2022 include:

  • celebrating The Electric’s fifth anniversary over the summer with an expanded roster of advertisers and subscribers,
  • marking the third anniversary of the Great Falls Greats contest;
  • presenting with Kellie Pierce of the Downtown Great Falls Association at the National Main Street Conference on working with media;
  • hosting the second Feasting in the Falls restaurant week collaboration with the Great Falls Take Down Take Out page, the third event is coming up in early 2023;
  • creating an inflatable costume race for MOtoberfest in partnership with the Mighty Mo and DFGA (such a good laugh!);
  • and continuing work on our effort to update state law to allow digital public notices.

It was a challenging year, punctuated in many ways by waves of misinformation, conflict and people speaking past each other.

I’ve found myself having to dig deeper and deeper to be understanding, to keep asking questions, to keep pulling at threads, to attempt to write plainly in search of truth.

There’s so much more to do, more to ask, more to learn, more to write and that’s my goal for 2023, to stay true to my goal of providing accurate information to the public so you can be informed and better participate in the decisions that affect your life.

I don’t always get it right, but always keep striving toward that goal.

A few weeks ago, I rewatched The West Wing and there was a fictional speech by a fictional character that struck a chord with me in a way it hadn’t before. When the episode aired in December 2005, I was in my senior year of college, fresh back from a semester abroad in New Zealand.

“We’re tired of understanding, we’re tired of waiting, we’re tired of trying to figure out why our children are not safe and why our efforts to make them safe seem to fail. We’re tired. But we must know that we have made some progress and blame will only destroy it. Blame will breed more violence and we have had enough of that.

“Blame will not rid our streets of crime and drugs and fear and we have had enough of that. Blame will not strengthen our schools or our families or our workforce. Blame will rob us of those things and we have had enough of that. And so I ask you today to dig down deep with me and find that compassion in your hearts. Because it will keep us on the road. And we will walk together and work together. And slowly, slowly, too slowly, things will get better.”

Here’s to a year of digging deeper, finding compassion and getting better.