Most political news sites grow audience and pageviews during presidential election years. But, if you look carefully at our numbers -- and especially if you examine our month-to-month growth since 2010 -- you'll see that Raw Story is on a consistent upward trajectory unmatched by any of our competitors. The chart below demonstrates that tremendous growth by comparing our 2011 traffic (in orange) to our 2012 traffic (in blue).
In fact, one of the best-kept secrets in online media is that during 2012, under executive editor Megan Carpentier's leadership, Raw Story's monthly readership increased by almost 89 percent, reaching one of the single largest progressive news audiences in the United States.
And already, 2013 is looking like another great year for Raw Story. In January alone, the chart below shows that we increased monthly unique visitors (blue line) over last January (orange line) by 124 percent, reaching almost 5 million unique readers. Pageviews last month were up over last year by 97 percent.
What we’re most proud of is that we achieved this exciting growth by operating on a comparatively small budget -- yet we still paid our writers and editors competitive wages, health benefits, holiday bonuses and gave them sick time and holidays. We had no large cash infusions from our owners. We had no VC money or angel investors to help us along. We had comparatively little support from the institutional and political advertisers who can "make or break" a year for websites in our category. And we took less than $500 total all year in donations from readers like you. Yet, we still ended up increasing revenue and profitability over 2011.
Now, this is the part of the annual "From the Publisher" message in which readers are normally asked to drop some cash in a tip jar or buy new VIP packages to gain "special" access to content the masses won't read or chats with reporters that the Washington Post has been offering for a decade, all because of falling ad rates and the difficulties of getting people to understand that they need to pay attention to what we deem important.
Well, we're not going to do that.
Instead, we want to offer an enormous THANK YOU to our readers for taking time out of their busy days and nights to catch up with us, for sharing your love of our stories with friends and family members on social media sites (where our stories spread exponentially), for sending us story tips and constructively engaging with one another in the comments and even for occasionally emailing (politely) when you notice a typo we missed. Because of you, we get paid to do what we love -- expose bigotry and corruption, shine a light on political and cultural trends, follow political stories without succumbing to the he-said, he-said of traditional Beltway coverage, and dive in-depth on the policies that will affect all of us for generations to come.
And, if you want to talk to our reporters or editors, their contact information is all on our masthead.
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