The past year was a year of change for TownSquareBuzz.com (TSB). We changed our name from McKinneyNews.net and re-branded our product as TSB, launched an entirely new platform, hired a new staff and embraced the concept of citizen journalism.
I’m happy to report that although re-branding is tough and change is even tougher for our readers, (think how much we moan about the changes that Facebook makes periodically) we made it and TSB is growing! During the last half of 2011, we more than doubled our unique visitors and page views – not bad for virtually starting from scratch. Thank you for your support!
Our mission continues to be to provide a place where McKinney residents can find out about all things McKinney – what’s happening in city government, keep track of local events, school district information, local business and, breaking news. TSB is your one stop shop for news and information about McKinney and the surrouding area.
As we began planning for 2012, we felt it was important to gather feedback from our readers in order to assess what our readers think we are doing well or not doing so well. We hired a company to implement a focus group and the following is some of what we heard:
- Not only do McKinney residents look to TSB for local news, they want TSB to provide more in-depth information about local news.
- Readers count on TSB to find out about local activities, events and things to do.
- Readers said that the calendar of events is important to them.
- It is sometimes difficult to find specific stories on the TSB website.
- The Daily Buzz email update didn’t flow well and gave away too much information.
Further research supports the idea that local news is important to residents.
In Dec., Google Blog shared that in almost every U.S. city it looked at, the top ten local search terms showed that people were searching for local news. The findings confirm that people still want to know what’s going on around them and they look to their local news outlets as a major source.
In a world where news is available everywhere, anytime, the issue is no longer how to get news, but how to sort through the vast amount of information that is bombarding us. It’s our job at TSB to give McKinney residents the local news that is important to them.
In an article entitled “What will 2012 Bring for Media?”, Jan Shaffer of J Lab, writes that readers can expect that “Information and opinion will be freely available. Enterprise, explanatory and investigative journalism will be prized commodities”.
If what Ms. Shaffer predicts is accurate, we at TSB are already on the right course, allowing the freedom of two way communication between TSB and our readers.
So what’s in store for our readers this year?
- We will ramp up our news coverage this year, including more investigative journalism pieces;
- TSB will provide the place where readers can find a full community calendar of events and activities around town, from city to school district events;
- We will continue to provide stories about events that are going on around town;
- TSB will still look to the community for new tips, story ideas and contributions as readers are empowered to publish content;
- TSB has launched McKinney Marketplace, which appears on our home page. This is THE place where local businesses can publish their special offers, tips or information that they would like to share with readers. (If you’re a business, find out how you can participate in our McKinney Marketplace)
- An enhanced Business Directory will provide businesses an opportunity to have a mini web page within TSB.
- TSB will launch a mobile application, making it easier to access TSB on the go. In the meantime, use the Flipboard app to browse articles on TSB. Here’s a brief video tutorial.
- Expect further changes to the TSB web site in order to make articles easier to find and the site easier to navigate;
- TSB will continue to be the community web site where readers can share their opinions, post content and integrate that content with their own social networking sites.
If you haven’t noticed, in response to reader feedback we have received, The Daily Buzz has already been re-formatted, making it easier for readers to puruse. (If you aren’t receiving our news updates and would like to do so, click on My Dashboard > Edit your Daily Buzz Newsletter subscription settings).
TSB is a work in progress and change is difficult, but I believe that we are on the right track. We were ahead of our time when we first began in 2005, but we have stayed the course and adapted and you have supported us through change and reinvention. With the enthusiasm, energy, commitment and innovation of our team, this thing is working!
Again, a sincere and heart felt thank you for your continued support! We look forward to what this year will bring!
Happy New Year,
President / Founder
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