HSJ Online held its first annual meeting on April 8th, including a special award for Timothy Andrews, for his generous matching grant that helped make the online news site a success.
HSJ Online launched in January 2015 under the umbrella of Heritage of Hope as a not-for-profit community news site, following in the footsteps of the long-time community newspaper, the Hope Star-Journal. The Star-Journal closed in October 2014 after the death of its publisher and editor, Larry Simpson.
A committee formed after Simpson's death, looking into ways to keep community news alive including Bud Herron, Tim Shoaf, Michael Dean and David Webster.
"Bud had a clue or two about how newspapers ran and even though he had kind of retired he still had a few contacts in the industry," Shoaf said. "It became obvious immediately that a printed paper was not feasible.
"In what now seems like a blink of the eye we had met with Jeff Washburn as to any legal advice, Scott Mings laid out a business model for us and David McChesney at 1UP had us all set to go online. All of this at discounted or no cost."
"All the pieces of the puzzle fell into place," Shoaf said. "If only everything could go so smooth. It is because of all the caring and generosity of the community, both near and far that HSJ has taken root."
Herron introduced Andrews and presented him with the first HSJ Online Founders Award.
"Tim Andrews is a highly-successful business executive who has never forgotten his roots," Herron said. "This community is in his heart and he is in the heart of our community. He may not have lived here for many years, but he is one of us and we are so fortunate that he feels that after all these years."
Andrews grew up poor in the St. Louis Crossing neighborhood and took an interest in journalism while still in elementary school. In high school began writing about Hauser activities as a student correspondent for The Republic in Columbus. He currently heads ASI, the largest education, marketing and media organization in the country.
"In the days when we were trying to figure out how to launch HSJ Online, I called Tim for advice - since I knew he was a pioneer in internet journalism - having played a major role in the development of The Wall Street Journal site," Herron said. "His advice and guidance was invaluable. I didn't ask Tim for financial help, but at the end of the conversation he offered a $10,000 matching grant. That is called 'second mile giving' in anyone's book."
Webster talked about the importance of Andrews' advice and the success of the site.
"Your generosity, expert advice, and unfailing moral support provided unconditional keys in the launching and success of our first electronic newspaper," Webster said. "No matter where people from our community are in the world, they can stay in touch with their roots due to your visionary commitment."
Webster and John Clark, the content coordinator for HSJ Online, made presentations, respectively, on the financials of the new site and about the readership. Links to the information they presented is below.