A 2021 Thank You From The HSJ Online Team

When Larry Simpson asked me to get involved with the “Hope Star-Journal,” I never knew it would be a volunteer position for 11 years while writing at least one article each month every year. Throughout that time, I have learned a lot about the newspaper business. Like life, perfection is difficult to achieve, and we thank our readers for their patience and understanding.

In 2015, a small group of individuals met several times to determine what we could do in continuing a local media source after the death of Larry. Much time and consultation went into the decision to go with “HSJ Online,” a not-for-profit and free reading digital news source within the umbrella of Heritage of Hope, Inc.

Bud Herron then referred us to David McChesney, 1up! CEO, who helped us with a website. (We are now with ePublishing who David is with too.) John Clark, who had spent some time with Larry, would be our Content Coordinator, and Stephanie Shoaf, long-time employee of the “Hope Star-Journal,” would be our Business Coordinator. Thankfully, both are still with “HSJ Online.”

Next, we needed money to cover operating expenses. Tim Andrews generously offered a $10,000 matching gift. The community quickly responded, and we had $30,000. Once again, it demonstrated the community's never ending generosity. Our goal has been to maintain $10,000 in our operating budget each year, a goal we have met for seven years. (Refer to “About US” for more information.)

Of course, we needed to find writers. Besides John providing content in addition to his technical skills in posting material, Jenn Willhite chose to write for us and has written many articles on a variety of subjects. Several other writers stepped up to furnish articles too.

We are pleased to report that 2021 has been our best year for posting articles with Jessica Brown being a great addition to our team and writers. As “Town Crier,” Jessica has provided weekly updates in regard to the town and has attended and posted detailed notes related to Hope Town Council meetings.

Our working relationship with Suzie Norman and Ashley Norman Loyd, Norman Funeral Home, was once again appreciated by us and many. Mike Asher's Hauser Scoreboard link, through our website, shared much about sports in our school corporation due to the reporting of many coaches. Terri Young's Calendar was quite creative and informative about monthly events.

We are also pleased to report that 2021 has been our best year for contributions toward the HSJ Online General Budget and the newly formed HSJ Online Foundation through Scott Mings and Raymond James, our volunteer financial consultant since the very beginning. Our list of contributors and ad sponsors grew, and we can't possibly express enough thanks. If you purchased mums, we thank you; if you participated in our first run/walk, we thank you; if you stopped by our stand during Heritage Days to enjoy a corn dog, we thank you; if you attended our concert benefit at WILLow LeaVes, we thank you, and we thank Paul Bunting, Tim McNamee, Dale Sechrest, and Avery Tallent for volunteering to share their musical talents for that wonderful evening.

As we move into 2022 and beyond, we feel confident that our community will always be supportive of a local media source. We also know there will be changes and that there will continue to be challenges and celebrations. Finally, we are confident that there will always be someone to step into our roles when needed. Please feel free to contact any of our team members with comments and/or questions. And please let others know about HSJ Online!

David Webster & HSJ Online Team Members:
Jessica Brown, Michael Dean, Bud Herron, Don Hewitt, Terri Young, & Howard Zachariah
John Clark (Content Coordinator) & Stephanie Shoaf (Business Coordinator)