We recently had our monthly meeting, and John Clark, our Content Coordinator, pointed out that “HSJ Online” has already surpassed last year's readership numbers, with several months remaining.

Below, you will find some numbers shared:

Year Five (January 2019-December 2019)
Unique Visitors: 37,167,  Total Visits: 63,162,  Total Page Views: 105,016,  Facebook Likes: 1,494

Year Six (January 2020-September 2020)
Unique Visitors: 43,448,  Total Visits: 84,420,  Total Page Views: 107,016,  Facebook Likes: 1,570

After the sudden and unexpected death of Larry Simpson, owner/editor/publisher of “The Hope Star-Journal,” I still vividly recall being a part of the first meetings determining what our town should do. We knew Larry, as well as the previous operators, would want us to find a way to continue a local media source. For several reasons, we felt it would be best to create a not-for-profit and free reading digital newspaper. We did not know exactly what a digital format would look like; we were not sure how we would find the funding; we were not sure how the community would respond.

In other words, there were many ifs.

Even though there are still ifs, we know a lot more now than we did then and are pleased to be in a good position as we soon will enter our seventh year due to the great support of Heritage of Hope, Tim Andrews, the Hawcreek Flat-Rock Area Endowment Committee and the Heritage Fund, the Hope Town Council and EDIT Committee, our ad sponsors, many individual contributors, all our readers locally as well in other states and countries. (A list of our 2015-1019 Contributors can be located under “About Us” and will be updated at the end of this year.)

A good example of the community's support would be our second mum fundraiser while working with one of our ad sponsors, Duck Creek Gardens. Over 200 mums were purchased from our team. The additional money will be helpful in paying our content contributors when writing articles about town events, businesses, and individuals.

Since our humble beginnings in 2015, we have tried to convey our sincere thanks in several different ways with one being a yearly public celebration and business review; however, we had to cancel the previous one due to the coronavirus. We look forward to eventually scheduling one in 2021 and hope you will be able to attend.

As we approach 2021, our team knows there will continue to be challenges and changes. But, you can be assured each of us has a deep passion toward always providing a local news source. In a time when small towns and small-town newspapers are no longer turning their pages, we are very proud of our community and of HSJ Online. As always, you should feel free to contact any of our team members.

Sincerely and in great appreciation,

David Webster &
Jessica Brown, Michael Dean, Bud Herron, Don Hewitt, Terri Young, Howard Zachariah, John Clark, Stephanie Shoaf