You don’t really know a place until you’ve walked it, right?
Well, redbankgreen has had the good fortune of walking, biking and driving the streets that comprise the Greater Red Bank Green, camera and notebook in hand, for a decade now.
Yes, 10 years. This site launched on June 1, 2006.
First, you may be wondering: “What’s with those jiggling bottles?” We used that GIF in our debut post, headlined “HOUSEQUAKE,” after a Prince song, (lyric: “There’s a brand new groove goin’ round in your funky town…”) in which we compared redbankgreen‘s arrival to a June 1, 1927 earthquake that struck the Red Bank region.
Like that temblor, we hoped that this new publication would, as we said then, “shake the ground, bust some plaster, maybe rattle the local media a bit – all without injuring or killing anyone.”
Ok, so maybe that was a bit of a strained metaphor. Put more plainly, our goal was to change the way the residents of a tightly described collection of small towns obtained news and information about their communities: the good, the bad — anything local that neighbors might talk about over the backyard fence or while grabbing a drink.
We’ve tried to accomplish that at street level. Meaning, we’re out in our towns, meeting people, keeping our antenna up for news and interesting stories.
We’ll leave it to you to determine if this experiment has in fact shaken things up. Feel free to tee that up in the comments.
But here are some bare-bones metrics:
That first day, we got about 300 pageviews. In the last year, we’ve gotten 2.6 million.
Over the years, our meanderings have yielded 12,000 posts. And every one is still available in our archive, for free.
And here’s an anecdotal offering: while coverage of our towns by the incumbent print media has dwindled, the phrase “I read it on redbankgreen” has become increasingly common. Or so we’re told just about everywhere we go.
A lot has changed in the publication itself, too. It started out as a weekly magazine, for one thing, on the idea that we’d do tons of features and not a lot of breaking news — least of all, political news. That went out the window just six weeks later, when a meeting with our hyperlocal-goddess-idols Deb Galant and Liz George of Montclair’s Baristanet convinced us we needed to go daily to survive. And just like that, the next day, we were a daily.
Five years ago, we ripped the cord out of the wall on anonymous commenting after a crap storm of libel and just plain ugliness erupted. It cost us a ton of clicks, but we’ve more than regained what we lost, and sleep better knowing we’re not enabling trolls. More importantly, the discussion is once again civil, and more along the lines what you would expect on a town square or village green of the kind that inspired our name.
In our ongoing efforts to connect local business with local residents, we’ve also pioneered advertising technologies that are getting global attention through a spin-off company, Broadstreet Ads, based here in Red Bank. Broadstreet’s mission is to enable small-business owners to speak to local readers through ads that are as fresh and relevant as the news they run beside.
Where has the decade gone? Wherever shoe leather goes as it is slowly worn away. We hope all our pavement-pounding has been and continues to be as enriching for our readers as it is for us.
Meantime, thank you all for your encouragement, critiques, ads, news tips, and more. It’s been our supreme pleasure.
John T. Ward & Trish Russoniello
Publisher & Picture Person, respectively