CHS Subscriber Update: Now is the time

CHS is starting its second week back in the daily neighborhood news business. We have had a great response to our subscriber drive and it has been exciting — and humbling — to see the support grow. We need our subscriber totals to keep climbing.

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In our first week back, CHS published 32 posts, and the community added around 120 comments and more than 50 new CHS Calendar events. Some of the comments were even good ones! Yup, on CHS, you *can* read the comments. Meanwhile, people either shared, liked, or commented on a CHS article more than 20,000 times last week.

All of this toward saying, look, there are a lot of us who are already part of the site. Now, we need to help shift the way our small piece of the Seattle media business works.

To continue to serve Capitol Hill, the Central District, and our neighbors, CHS needs 2,000 subscribers. After week 1, we are at a quarter of our goal. THANKS SO MUCH for being part of the site. We love doing this work and want to continue to do so — without subscription walls and irritating logins.

We also hope to do it without a never-ending subscriber drive. Please consider subscribing today. If you are already a subscriber, tell a friend… or 2,000.

If you have questions or need more information, drop us a line anytime.

Thanks for reading CHS!

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CHS sabbatical: We’re back

Do as the bird says. Subscribe to CHS.

It has been six months since CHS was regularly posting daily news. After a break, we are back.

Some things have not changed. CHS returns with the same basic model of what we hope is excellent reporting from a small core team and a wide ranging army of regular — and irregular — contributors, usually pretty swell writing, great photography, and a focus on high-level journalism at the neighborhood level. We won’t pretend to get “all sides” in any story — but I guarantee we will give humanity a fair shake.

Some things have changed. For a decade, CHS survived as a business thanks mostly to advertisements purchased by local merchants, restaurants, and community organizations and programs. We will continue to offer the service, though you will probably notice fewer ads on the site.

To continue into a new decade, CHS must now more fully turn to its readers for support. A trio of dedicated journalists are in place at our core — longtime CHS contributor photographer Alex Garland, CHS newbie and respected Seattle reporter Kelsey Hamlin, and me, a community news publisher character played by Justin Carder :).

Now comes the pitch. We will not (yet) be building a subscription wall like the New York Times or the Seattle Times. It’s just not practical at this point for us from the technology end of things and the last thing we want is for the site to be slowed.

But CHS will also no longer be free — exactly.

To succeed, we believe CHS needs to have at least 2,000 subscribers paying to help support the site.

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We’re asking you to subscribe TODAY and pay what you can. It is not a model you see a lot in the neighborhood news biz. But we hope you will agree there aren’t a lot of neighborhood news sites like CHS out there.

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Some 8,000 or so people come to read the site on any given day — more than 100,000 in the course of any month. We will keep everybody up to date on our progress and plan to make a big push these first few weeks to get the ball rolling. You can help spread the word, too.

Questions, comments, concerns? Let’s talk in the comments.

THANKS FOR READING,
Justin

 

CHS sabbatical: Taking a break

IMG_9814Turns out, managing my own personal breaking news has been extremely difficult. But I do have a story to tell you. Waiting to share as I planned it all out has driven me insane.

I’m excited — and a little sad — to announce that I am taking a break from CHS. There are no time restraints on the decision. This is the right time for me to bring the logistics together to begin the break. There will be a right time to start again.

My plan is to take time off from the site and the business, take care of some things in life that I have been meaning to get to, and keep many appointments that I have put on hold for the past decade.

What does that mean? A list!

  • CHS and our band of amazing contributors will finish out the week just as we always have. I’ll try to keep things as professional as usual. Everybody is getting paid. Every advertiser is getting their money’s worth or a refund. This is a sabbatical not a shuttering.
  • After Sunday, a “gone fishing” message will go up and the site will go into a kind of stasis. Expect some things like the Calendar and Community Posts to poke along. I might even get around to adding a few automagical news features to keep the site busy while I am gone.
  • Our many, many freelancers and contributors might be looking for work and new projects. Drop them a line.
  • Thanks especially to Alex Garland who has been along for so much of the ride and Kaylee Osowski for bringing new enthusiasm to the effort.
  • Our many advertisers are the best kinds of neighborhood organizations and businesses. Give the ads a lookover and make sure to thank them with your patronage.
  • Our 200 or so subscribers have given me hope — and money — to help make CHS continue to work even as the media market shifts and changes. Thanks much for being part of CHS. If you decide now is the time to end your patronage, I understand. If you want to help with ongoing costs around hosting the site and the tech side of things, thanks. It will definitely make this easier to return to after my 2017 walkabout.
  • Some 1.7 million “users” have visited the site in the past year. I look forward to the eventual challenge of winning them back.

While the news is new to you, I have not made this decision lightly. I am lucky to have the opportunity to be so tortured with choice. I am lucky to be able to walk away. And I am — I hope — lucky to have the opportunity to come back to it when the time is right.

Thanks for reading,
Justin

UPDATE: I was afraid of this! Thanks for all the messages and goodwill. Thanks for understanding. Now go hire a freelancer in my honor. Meanwhile, thanks for the coverage: