Congratulations everyone, we made it through another lap around the sun. It seems to me that the earth may be picking up speed on each lap, as each year seem to go by quicker than the last.
Oh yeah, and a Happy 10 Years SCN!
2016 may not have been as eventful as 2015 considering it isn’t every year that a sitting president pays Seward a visit, along with with many other major events of that year. Nonetheless, life in Seward seems to chugging along steadily in terms of local events, commerce, and attention from the outside-world media. Many business owners and the Seward Chamber report that tourism definitely hit some high marks, possibly our best year ever.
As I ran the reports to see our top read articles for 2016, I made a somewhat disturbing discovery. The top-four most-read articles for 2016, involved Alaskan wildlife stories that did not end well. #1 A severe (luckily non-fatal) bear attack in city limits; #2 A wayward mountain goat drowns off the beach downtown; #3 A fin whale draped around the bow of in inbound ship ; #4 was a followup to the bear attack. Many of our other top reads were severe winter weather warnings. This interesting situation is a bold reminder that Seward Residents live in what is still considered The Last Frontier, alluding to the fact that those of us that live here are a hardy bunch.
The next few subheadings cover some news, about Seward City News, that I am proud to share.
The SCN Team
You may have noticed the increase SCN sourced news lately. With the departure of Heidi Zemach as our lead staff writer in January, we knew it would be hard to find someone to provide as much content as Heidi did. I think we finally found that trait in the talented Kelley Lane last fall. I am also very pleased to report that Allison Sayer, who started with a us as a writer last summer, will now also be our new Content Editor. Allison will be the one to edit and publish content from third party submissions and our own writers as well. She will also continue to write more stories for us on many things-Alaskan from gardening, to skiing, to fishing. Her Silver Salmon article in September was in the top reads of 2016 and got a lot of attention statewide. Kelley’s husband Reed Lane is on board as technical assistant for SCN and my core business, Seward Data Services. Sarah Fink and myself will continue with the rest of the responsibilities of our still seemingly new company.
The SCN Weekly Newsletter
I have been hard at work this year upgrading some of our services for both our readers and advertisers. Returning by popular demand, and my favorite improvement, is our new Subscriber feature and weekly newsletter. You will now find a “Subscribe Now!” button a the top of sewardcitynews.com. This is a rebirth of the weekly newsletter service that used to send our weekly top stories to your inbox. This service is hugely improved in every way from our previous subscriber system. If you would like to receive The SCN Weekly Newsletter with our top stories, click that Subscribe button. It’s free, easy, and we keep your email address private.
The SCN YouTube Channel
Video is everywhere and everything these days when it comes to online media. We moved our original YouTube Channel to an upgraded home in November as we transitioned our company into Google’s “G Suite ™” professional business services (Google owns YouTube). One of our goals for 2016 was to include more video. We have since added six new videos in 2016, and although that is not enough for my tastes, it was still more footage than any year prior. As we improve our equipment, video editing skills, and support staff, I am very confident there will be many more videos added at a faster pace for 2017. We already have more stock footage ready to edit and things are happening in that department. Here is a hint: SCN now owns a professional unmanned aerial system, a.k.a a drone (Ohhh, yeahhhhh!).
To find our new YouTube Channel, see the red YouTube button at the top right of every SCN page.
The SCN Drone
“Newschopper One”, I like to call her, is ready for action. Now with a drone on hand and its many uses, we are able to shoot and publish aerial footage for Seward City News and any other company that would like to hire our services. I am now F.A.A. Certified SUAS (drone) Pilot with insurance, and look forward to bringing the world aerial views of Seward, its events, and other parts of Alaska as well. You will find some short flights on our YouTube Channel, and there are more in the pipeline.
Griswold Wins Again
Carol Griswold is once again the SCN Citizen Contributor of the Year. Her wonderful images of local birds and all sorts of outdoor shots from around town are like the icing on this cake. We are fortunate that Carol enjoys sharing her hobby with us and the world. Carol has a blog and if you would like to see even more of her work go here: http://sporadicbird.blogspot.com/. For next year’s end-of-year SCN wrap up, I am creating the “Carol Griswold Award” for anyone that can get more views on their citizens posts than Carol. For those of you that don’t know, there is a “write it” feature on SCN where almost anyone can contribute articles on all things Seward. See the top menu for “How to Post”. There will be a substantial prize for the first person to knock Carol off her perch (pun intended). Also note there is compensation available from SCN to citizen journalists that can provide viral content and images that SCN may want to use for our articles.
I will add an honorable mention to Nicole Lawrence from Seward Properties. Her well crafted articles on buying, selling, and owning a home always get a lot of attention.
And finally, the most important part of my annual New Year’s letter. We can’t thank our advertisers enough. Without them, there would be no Seward City News and this service to our readers. Seward City News is not just a website. What we possess is a huge history of Seward’s events, images, videos, and citizens comments, all archived since 2006. Our advertisers are doing more than just advertising their services on our website, they are also supporting the largest digital archive of Seward, Alaska. This Seward history is also pushed out to our social media pages as well, storing these records in triplicate.
You can thank our advertisers by visiting their storefronts and websites to see what they have to offer. We would be nothing without them and we are grateful. It is our mission to encourage our readers to be grateful for them as well.
In 2016 we have extended our ad services to further promote businesses with more tools, such as paid Facebook ad services, sponsored content, and classified ads (a huge success in ’16). I’m also looking at using video on our YouTube Channel to promote businesses in a media rich environment. See the end of our 2016 Mount Marathon Video to see an example of this. It won’t end there. I have more features up my sleeve to be announced later.
I am looking forward to 2017 more than any other year during my short (approaching 4 years) ownership of Seward City News. With our new cohesive staff, and improvements in the technology we use to drive content and advertising, I am very excited about what the future of SCN holds. Check back often to see what we have to offer as things progress. Part of our mission is to maintain a large and loyal readership. The stage is already set to greatly improve upon that in 2017.
We have also contributed more funds back to the community in 2016 than ever in the form of support to organizations such as Seward Arts Council, Seahawk Booster’s, Skip & Marie Fletcher Movie Night, Tsunami Swim Club, just to name some. With our increased readership and revenue, more will be contributed from SCN to the public good of the cause.
Thanks for reading, watching, and advertising with Seward City News.
Welcome to 2017!
Steven T. Fink
Owner/Editor of Seward City News, a.k.a Seward Data Services LLC