This is the last newsletter for 2021 and I wanted to take this opportunity to thank you for an incredible year. This might be a little lengthly, but I hope you’ll read it 🙂
Building a local news outlet is a tough business, and to be honest, it’s a whole lot tougher than I ever anticipated. But I believe it’s worth it.
As many of you know, I started Get The Coast out of my own frustration with the local news coverage. As someone who was born and raised in Southern Okaloosa County, I knew the local headlines at the time weren’t a great reflection of our community.
So a guy with no real background in journalism decided to start this thing called Get The Coast and focused on weekly event coverage, interviewing non-profits, showcasing the local real estate industry and filming over 100 locally-owned restaurants and shops within the first 2 years.
This approach catapulted my little news outlet into the spotlight and started gaining traction within the community, and I started slowly gaining your trust.
In 2019, a recycling issue within Okaloosa County helped push Get The Coast into more harder local news topics. Recycling was about to go away within the county and very few people had any idea it was happening. I helped make the issue widely known across the county and that led to a series of interviews and news coverage that ultimately saw recycling stay active in Okaloosa. This was also the year that I started publishing this newsletter.
In 2020, the local elections for County Commissioner and Superintendent of Schools kept me busy, but the thing I was most proud of was my video series on the state of our local schools. My friend Jason Carducci and I took a camera and walked through a bunch of local schools to show the community the condition of the schools. The video series generated hundreds of thousands of views and opened up discussions around moldy classrooms, failing plumbing and leaky roofs.
In 2021, I ramped up local coverage across the county and this newsletter has been more consistent than ever. I don’t want to be seen as a local news source for the south-end of Okaloosa. I want to BE the news source for the entire county. This saw me starting to cover more news in Crestview, along with Niceville coverage thanks to Christopher Saul.
This year was the first year where I was given stories first. And not just a story here or there. I was called about stories exclusively, and that has meant the world to me. To me, 2021 will always be the year in which I feel like I gained that trust I sought out to earn three years earlier.
What’s coming in 2022
As the 2nd paragraph stated, building a local news outlet is tough. Thankfully, I’ve had the on-going support from local businesses such as Eglin Federal Credit Union, ERA American Real Estate, and Saltwater Restaurant Group. In the past, I also worked with Okaloosa Gas, ResortQuest and Grand Boulevard who were gracious enough to give it a try with a brand new company.
This year also saw support coming from:
Caliber Car Wash
Lisa Norton Real Estate
Specialty Roofers Inc.
Step One Automotive Group
In 2022, I’m hoping that more local businesses will step up to help support local news coverage as corporate sponsors for Get The Coast.
Additionally, there will be ways for you, as a reader, to help financially support my efforts to bring you the very best news.
I believe that local news should be accessible to all. I don’t necessarily agree with putting everything behind a paywall. However, just because the news is free to read, does’t mean it was free to create. It costs some serious money to make this thing run…
As for 2022, I want to continue to expand across the county. There are many of you who want the same type of coverage in Crestview in Niceville (and Walton County for that matter). And I hear you and agree! I’d like to hire on a couple of additional reporters to help make that coverage a more in-depth thing, and that will come as the financial support comes in.
There are a host of topics that I’d like to continue expanding on. A few include:
And of course, the fun stuff like events, new business, etc. will continue to be there.
Over to you
At the bottom of each newsletter I ask you a simple question: What did you think of this morning’s newsletter?
And I genuinely mean that in each email sent. I get so many replies that it’s one of the main reasons I love writing this so much.
I feel like I have a good grasp on what kind of news our community wants to read about, but it’s still a guess. But when I get responses back from you all, it verifies that I’m on the right track.
I have ideas on what I’d like to cover but I want to hear from you. As 2021 comes to an end, what are local topics that you would like to see more of as we head into 2022?
I want to thank Whitney Lee, Christopher Saul, and Parker Destin for working with Get The Coast this year as hosts of shows and local news correspondents. They made my job easier and helped bring relevant local news to the community.
I want to thank you for continuing to subscribe to this newsletter and taking a real interest in your local news. You are making our community better by being informed.
I hope you have a great, final day of 2021…and I will see you on Monday.
p.s. If you’re looking for a good way to spend New Year’s Eve click here, and a cool “plunge” event on New Year’s Day click here.