Celebrating 3 years as New Smyrna Beach's daily online newspaper & Volusia voice

On April 7, 2008, Peter Mallory and I launched Florida's first fully-online daily newspaper, NSBNews.net, right here in New Smyrna Beach. We have come a long way in three short years and we have a long way to go, but we are very proud of our standing in the community. We will celebrate our milestone later in the month.

We have experienced tremendous growth. In January 2009, we had 2,000 visitors. In January 2010, that figure rose to 20,000 visitors. This past January we attracted 60,000 visitors, according to our Google Analytics.

With that potential well in hand, we expanded over coverage to include Volusia County, with New Smyrna Beach as our home base. Make no mistake about it: We are Smyrna Beach's daily news source. We play second to no one, the Daytona Beach News-Journal included.

As recent events have shown, the News-Journal has far less impact locally as today's "Our Towns" section shows, a collection of press releases, grip-and-grin photos and news going back two weeks. The one story the News-Journal has owned since day 1 is its coverage of the Bert Fish hospital merger fiasco, led by reporter Anne Geggis, an experienced metro reporter, one of the few left there.

The weekly Observer newspaper has fallen on hard times, having to vacate its Flagler Avenue offices two weeks ago for financial reasons. Today, the Observer has the distinction of being the lone newspaper in Volusia County without a legal base of operations. Its best political blogger, Sally Gillies left this week to join NSBNews.net.

The Observer has not informed its readers of its situation, instead sending out an e-mail asking people to consider a subscription and providing an upgraded Internet site that has nothing new beyond what is in its print version. And that site has restrictions unless you pay $30 a year for a subscription to the print newspaper.

NSBNews.net has proven itself to be New Smyrna Beach's only real daily news source for breaking news, news of record and investigative reporting. We broke the story on corruption in the the Oak Hill police department earlier this year. Last year, NSBNews.net broke the story on New Smyrna Beach's planning fiasco, where tens of millions of dollars in commercial developments were grounded because of ineptness in the city's planning department dating back five years.

NSBNews.net was the only news organization to go to Tallahassee to cover an emergency meeting between city and state officials, bringing the story home through a series of in-depth stories and videos where Internet users could read, see and hear what was happening.

We have not even fully dressed our marketing and advertising, though we have held our own. We are building entirely through the private marketplace. Our overhead is low since I am the only employee and operate from my home in Sugar Mill Country Club with my wife Sera and my 17-year-old son, Henry.

In three years, we have amassed 5,262 stories, blogs and police blotters and jail dockets. We have more than 500 videos in our catalog.

Mallory helped me with start-up funding and I took it from there as editor, reporter, blogger and ad salesman. My wife Sera has produced most of the videos and helped with online graphics and daily postings of the New Smyrna Beach and Edgewater police logs, county jail dockets and lawsuits and Settle-Wilder obituaries.

Mallory writes a blog, "The Right Side," and is a trusted mentor as I handle the daily operations. We have more than two dozen community bloggers.

There is a lot of journalism experience here at NSBNews.net and VolusiaNews.net and the results speak for themselves.

We have also embraced social media. We have more "likes" on Facebook for our NSBNews.net and VolusiaNews.net fan pages than all other Volusia County media combined. And that includes the News-Journal, which has fired close to 500 of us since the lawsuit with Cox Enterprises that led to the eventual sale of the former metro newspaper in a court-sanctioned fire sale.

NSBNews.net will continue to build with a clear emphasis on journalism that matters. As always, feedback is welcomed.

You have our word that we will continue to report the news and provide an affordable and results-driven website for advertisers. We will never sell out for the sake of making a buck. That you can bank on as we provide Internet news for a 21st century world. Old-fashioned community journalism lives on NSBNews.net and VolusiaNews.net for a 21st-century digital world.

About the Blogger

Henry Frederick's picture

Henry Frederick is publisher of Headline Surfer®, the award-winning 24/7 internet newspaper serving the Daytona Beach-Orlando metro area via HeadlineSurfer.com, launched April 7, 2008, as Florida's first around-the-clock online newspaper. Frederick is among the Sunshine State's most experienced reporters with scores of regional, state & national journalism-industry awards for nearly 100 breaking news & investigative reporting stories in Florida, New York, Massachusetts & Connecticut.
View his blog archives here

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