Vicki Oatis , a children's librarian, needs to know what the school board is doing about all the snow days Norwalk's children have taken. She says her schedule of planned activities depends on the information. Where does she go to find out what the latest decision is? The Daily Norwalk.
"I think it's great for local news," Oatis says. "I click on it three or four times a day, I would say, to see what's going on."
She has company. TheDailyNorwalk.com and its nine sister sites in southern Fairfield County passed a milestone one million visits this week, nine months after the company's first launch. Main Street Connect, parent of all the sites, just signed its 100th contract with its local advertising partners.
"At the rate we are attracting readers, we will hit 2 million visits by May," says Carl Lavin, managing editor of MSC. Starting next week, registered readers will be able to sign up for daily headlines delivered directly to their e-mail.
Cumulatively, readers have spent the equivalent of nearly five years reading their local news on MSC. That's an average of 2.39 minutes a day, as reported by the data-gathering service, Google Analytics.
MSC also gives back to the community, while building awareness of its sites. Its contest, Better Schools Bonanza last fall awarded $35,000 in checks to parent-teacher organizations. Local nonprofits won $20,000 as part of the Santa's Wish List competition. The Valentine's Day promotion, Close to My Heart, closes this week. The company will award $15,000 to the winners on Monday.
Carll Tucker, MSC's editor, publisher and CEO, is "dazzled by the reception" of the company's first 10 sites. "We work hard to provide a rich offering for readers and an opportunity for advertisers to bring their message to their most likely customers and clients," he says.
MSC's Fairfield County sites are the first step toward bringing useful and engaging local news to communities all over the United States, Tucker says. "Our towns are good places to live and bring up families and we want to show that," he says. "We're grateful to all the readers and advertisers who have given us such a vote of confidence."
Oatis says the site is user-friendly. "I like the events a lot," said the Norwalk resident. "I like to see what's going on in the schools, so that is always great. I like that it is local to Norwalk and it's very easy to flip through."
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