…of Mark B. Evans administering TucsonCitizen.com.
Nearly eight years ago I took a job as an assistant city editor at the venerable Tucson Citizen, Tucson’s oldest continually operating business and longest-published newspaper.
Two years after I started, during the worst recession to hit this country since the Great Depression, the two owners of Tucson’s daily newspapers, Lee Enterprises, owner of the Arizona Daily Star, and Gannett Co., Inc., owner of the Citizen, decided to close the Citizen.
But the federal government, which had oversight of the two papers’ joint operating agreement, drug out the closing process because Gannett wanted to remain a partner in the Star’s operation.
After a few months, the feds, Lee and Gannett reached a settlement and decided the Citizen would remain in existence on the Internet as TucsonCitizen.com and two people would be retained to run it.
I was one of the two.
At the time, I was glad to still have a job, such as it was, and prospects of finding another job at a time when all newspapers in the country were shedding newsroom staff like a dog with mange were rather slim.
So I endeavored to make TC.com a relevant source for news and information in Tucson. Whether I succeeded I’ll leave for others to say.
The idea was for the Citizen to live up to its name and be a source for citizen journalists and bloggers to offer their voices, their perspectives, their expertise and their knowledge to the news consumers of Tucson.
Over the nearly five years TucsonCitizen.com has been in existence, nearly 150 Tucson citizens have signed up to have a blog here. For some, blogging turned out to be harder than it looked and they stopped shortly after starting. Some never got started at all.
But dozens of others did and many of the first to sign up are still regular contributors here and, not too surprisingly, among the most read.
I’m grateful to all who took a chance on TucsonCitizen.com, either as a blogger or as a reader. The site grew in contributors and readers year over year, hitting nearly 10 million visitors in 2012 who read more than 13 million articles. That’s considerably more than anyone, including me, thought possible back in those dark days of May, 2009.
This year hasn’t been as successful for technical reasons, nevertheless, to date more than 5 million visitors have read about 6.5 million articles on TC.com.
I’m immensely proud of what the citizen journalists and bloggers have accomplished here. What will come of TucsonCitizen.com in my absence is still being worked out by the powers that be. It may continue as it is, but with some design changes, or it may change significantly.
The new honcho around these parts, Anthony Gimino, who’s been my partner here since 2010, will let you all know what the next version of TucsonCitizen.com will be.
In the meantime, I hope you keep reading. The more you know, the better citizen you can be, and the writers at TucsonCitizen.com help you be better informed and therefore better citizens.
So long everybody. It’s been fun.