The Pagan Newswire Collective – Minnesota Bureau is one year old! Evolving from a meeting at PSG with Jason Pitzl-Waters, and consultations with a local group who had also sent a proposal for a Minnesota bureau, this bureau posted “Community Notes” from TCPagans on July 28th, 2010. How the PNC idea had gotten to this point is another whole story, but for us who formed this bureau; Heather Biedermann, Cara Schulz, and myself, Nels Linde, it was the start of an ambitious project.
What is this bureau?
The vision we acted upon was of a blog based information source for our community. The concept of ‘news’ is a hard one to define. Is it ‘Dog bites Pagan’, “Pagan bites Dog’, ‘What Pagans think about Dogs’, ‘Pagan wins at Dog Show’, ‘Pagan buys Dog’, ‘Dog bites Pagan in Detroit’, or ‘Pagan bites Pagan’? Well, we believe it is all of these topics and more. Our concept is to cover whatever seems to be the demonstrated interest, issues, and news we find in our community, and also to stretch that interest. As volunteers, with limits on our time, resources, and local experience, our content will also reflect our personal interest (I may have not written about Pagans hunting, if I didn’t hunt). As much as we are defining who and what we are, we also realize the idea of a local information source is ‘news’ to you, our readers. We know that your expectations may not match with our vision, and pay scale (we are all volunteers and have funded the costs, and time involved, in our reporting out of our pockets). We expect as we all grow and learn, these inequities in understanding will be resolved.
How do you operate as a Bureau?
Heather is mainly our website and research resource, Cara and I function as editors, but maybe not as you imagine. We do not pour over each word submitted or written, but we do monitor general content and grammar, and schedule our publishing. The voices you read are mainly the authors words, we do not write for others. We have gathered other contributors, who have committed to writing, taking photos, or submitting items on a consistent but casual schedule. If you want something considered for publication, well, submit it. If you have a press release, send it in. We can’t promise to publish everything, but we do publish a lot! If you wish to join this collective of contributors, read how we are committed to functioning as a bureau, and commit to writing! We don’t discriminate!
So what have you actually done?
Here are some of the stats for our first year. We have had over 135,000 page views, averaging 200-400/day or 4000-10,000 a month. These are all skewed by a few posts that have generated a lot of national interest, but realistically we get 200/day, most days. We have written 250 posts in 365 days, an amazing number! We have 84 blog subscribers, and 664 who follow our facebook page for posting notices. All of our posts get a fair reading, especially over time. We have 4 posts which have been read over a thousand times, another 33 posts have been read 250-1000 times. I have to credit Cara for covering many of those stories which skew our stats upward. She has a rich background in finding compelling stories that interest Pagans!
Does anyone else participate?
We have had 612 comments posted to our articles. Many who comment subscribe to that thread, so are prone to be repeat commenters. My informal survey reveals about 95% of those were in response to posts with national attention. Most of those comments are directed to the points of the article. We have been very liberal about who enters our on-line home, accepts our hospitality, and is given a forum, and in enforcing our ‘comment’ policy. We believe our level of readership and community support, and reader comments, reflect community interest in our content.
In our view, this has been a really successful year! We have established ourselves as the ‘flagship’ bureau within the PNC network. Many national websites link to our stories or use our content. This represents really diligent and massive volunteer hours to simply write, find stories, do interviews, and gather additional community contributors. It is an honor to serve this Pagan population center. Our readership, and the rate at which our articles are referenced, indicates we are doing something of real value and relevance… and that makes it all worth it! I really need to thank Cara, for bringing her journalistic experience, and calm, objective views to what can be a stressful task; reporting about Pagans! I want to thank all our contributors, readers, and commenters, for making this bureau a community resource with a future role to play in growing our community. Complements are always welcome!
Nels Linde PNC-MN Co-Editor