2021 Gettysburg Connection Annual Report

Dear Friends,

It is my pleasure to share Gettysburg Connection’s 2021 Annual Report with you.

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I direct this letter to all of you who read the Connection, who are members or partners of the Connection, who sponsor the Connection, and who participate with the Connection in so many other ways. Thank you.

I am happy to report that Gettysburg Connection has made progress this year toward reaching its goals of providing trustworthy news to all residents of Adams County. This progress is detailed below.

Gettysburg Connection History

The Gettysburg Connection website was first published in October 2018 as an events calendar, but quickly grew to become a full-fledged news website for Adams County.

2019 was a year of creating infrastructure, getting ideas, and coming up with a game plan.

2020 was a growth year as thousands of people found us to be a reliable source for trustworthy coronavirus information. By the end of 2020 we were publishing stories in over 25 interest categories:

2021 saw progress on many dimensions, and continued movement toward sustainability.  It was also a year of consolidation as our user base stayed steady, but our mailing list grew dramatically.

Notable accomplishments of 2021 included:

  • We reorganized as Gettysburg Connection Media LLC
  • We published over 669 stories
  • The number of unique annual visitors to our website remained constant from 2020 at about 175,000.
  • Our newsletter mailing list almost doubled, from 1,800 to over 3,000 members.
  • We received a grant from the American Press Institute to create the Pasa La Voz text messaging program.
  • We created Gettysburg Go!, a morning newsletter mailed three times per week to keep readers tuned into our offerings.
  • We worked with 4 part time writers: Imari Scarbrough, Annie Grabenstein, and Christine Grim, and Jenine Weaver.
  • Patti Robinson became an editor and proofreader.
  • We worked with 16 amazing interns from Gettysburg College, each of whom wrote stories and worked in the newsroom. 
  • We continued our focused election coverage around the primary and municipal elections.
  • We developed 5 new regular columns by Marc Jalbert, Joyce Shutt, the Gettysburg Area Recreational Authority, and the Adams County Library System.
  • We grew our social media outreach on Facebook and Instagram.
  • The Adams County Explorers program, in partnership with the Adams County Library, continued.
  • The Gettysburg Connection Photography Contest awarded prizes for the most creative photographs.
  • Our popular events calendar, business listings, business profiles, property transfers, and obituaries pages were each visited over 5,000 times.

Financial Sustainability

  • 7 partners, donating $250 or more each, contributed to our mission.
  • 120 members, including 42 new ones, contributed toward our mission.
  • 20 business sponsors contributed to our mission.
  • We received a $7,800 grant from the American Press Institute to develop the Pasa La Voz text messaging program.

Goals for 2022

The primary goals for 2022 are to increase readership and revenue and to expand the types of stories we publish to include more long-form investigative and solutions-oriented journalism.

We will continue to reach out to minority communities in the county. The Pasa La Voz program has been successful and will expand in 2022. We would like to hire a Spanish-language editor.

The Connection is powered by an editor (me) as well as a few part-time employees.  But this is not sustainable. The Connection needs more community engagement, more regular employees, and more funding to assure it will be here in the future.

In short, it is unsure how long the Connection can continue. It is a year-to-year proposition. Will there ever be a solid financial base to hire a paid publisher?

We will continue to reach for reader engagement.  We receive very few comments on our stories, yet I feel these comments are the best indicator of our impact.

We need more members, partners, and sponsors. A long-term goal is to create enough income to pay a publisher a living wage of $40,000 annually for 25 hours per week.

And that, in a nutshell, is where we stand today. I’m satisfied but hungry for more.

Again I thank you all and I wish you a healthy and happy 2022.

Sincerely,

Charles Stangor

Owner, Publisher and Editor

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Charles (Chuck) Stangor is Gettysburg Connection's Owner, Publisher, and Editor in Chief. I would like to hear from you. Please contact me at cstangor@gettysburgconnection.org.

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