Monday, August 29, 2016

Another Diary milestone

The Diary recently achieved another milestone, reaching and going beyond 72,000 page views in a month, writes Brian Byrne.

In the global scheme of things internet, that might not seem a figure to write home about. Big publishers fight for, and many achieve PVs in the millions, some of them on a daily basis. But for a number of reasons, I feel our little local achievement is worth a mention.

I regularly hear the comment that the Diary is 'great for Kilcullen people who have emigrated'. I get that. But what most viewers might not know is that only 10-12pc of the blog's readership is from our wild geese. Every one of the others are local to Kilcullen. Because there's nothing on the Diary of any interest unless you have a connection to Kilcullen.

So first, in a 'thank you' to all of our readers, and to contributors. You have not just stayed with us since we started this very local web publishing experiment almost a dozen years ago, you have become part of a daily endeavour to chronicle Kilcullen and its people and its doings in a traditional way but with modern technology.

I never expected that we'd get this far. I started the Diary, as I have said before, to find a way back to my local journalism roots of some four decades ago. A time when I used to send my typewritten copy, and the accompanying photographs I had printed in a makeshift darkroom, by bus to editors in Carlow, Naas, and Dublin. From then I moved from freelancing in a variety of publications to staff as a broadcast journalist at RTE News and then back to being self-employed as a contract publisher with national and international clients. From that latter time I began to develop a niche involvement as a motoring and travel journalist into what is now my main work.

In 1999, with colleague Trish Whelan, we established what was then a new way of providing local news of important county issues, KildareNet News, located on the Kildare County Council website. It was surprisingly successful. We were even profiled in a segment on RTE TV’s 'Nationwide'. KNN didn't make any money though, and after just over five years we eventually decided to suspend it because it was taking too much time from the necessary business of making a living.

That was when I decided to go on a personal basis with what I learned, many years later, was 'hyperlocal' news, a service for an absolutely local audience. The Kilcullen Diary. That's what you read to the tune of up to 72,000 page views a month. That's what you are part of, as readers and also in many instances as the subjects of the Diary's content either individually or from being involved in different elements of the community. It has been for me a roller-coaster ride that is still pulling the Diary to places I hadn't really envisaged.

And now to the other 'thank you'. To the local businesses who advertise on the Diary. It was never intended to be a commercial operation. I never sought that kind of support. But over the years a number of local enterprises asked if they could advertise. So I added that to the mix of information which is in many ways as important as the news from the locality.

Finally, a figurative raising of a glass to all involved, as producers, advertisers, and readers, as we reach this latest milestone. Thank you, all. And 'slainte is saol' to all of us.

Onwards …