By Jimmy Orr, executive editor
Like anything in life, it was a roller coaster for Cowboy State Daily in 2022. Tremendous highs and a tremendous low.
Our readership exploded this year. We now have more than 40,000 subscribers to our daily newsletter — which is the equivalent of a daily newspaper. Just electronically.
Monthly traffic on our website has quintupled since February when we launched the new Cowboy State Daily.
Now we get more than 3 million page views every month and that number is growing consistently. Our goal is to double that monthly amount by the end of 2023.
We’ve added real heft to our editorial team with the additions of (in hiring order) Clair McFarland, Leo Wolfson, Kevin Killough, Mark Heinz, Greg Johnson and Renée Jean.
Everyone has at least 10 years of experience — some have more than 30.
Our columnists stand alone. Rod Miller, Bill Sniffin, Cat Urbigkit, Dave Simpson, Dave Walsh and Aaron Turpen. Clair pulls double-duty with a column every two weeks.
Photographer Matt Idler (another native Wyomingite) joined our team in 2022.
And our secret weapon (who isn’t very secret), meteorologist Don Day greets Wyoming every weekday morning at 6 a.m.
They joined Bill, Wendy Corr and me, who were all part of the first-year crew.
In 2022, we became the largest news organization in the state and we’re still hiring. But we take a deliberate approach. We want Wyoming people with Wyoming values and a deep appreciation for Wyoming culture.
Of course, our big loss was when former managing editor Jim Angell passed away in August.
He was the first person we brought onboard to Cowboy State Daily on Jan. 6, 2019.
As I mentioned at his funeral, we knew if we could get Jim Angell on our team, we had a chance. We were right.
And drawing from that tremendous legacy, we know we have lots to look forward to in 2023.
We will have the largest team covering the Legislature. Leo Wolfson will be leading the efforts with every single member of our staff covering it in some capacity. Well, maybe not Don Day or Dave Walsh.
We’ll launch a new website in the second quarter of this year. It’s beautiful. It’s functional. It’s much more user-friendly. You’ll see an app too.
We’ll have more beats covered in 2023. Agriculture, the judiciary, more breaking news, more features and more “local local” stories.
When we do features on our different communities, that’s a “local, local” story. Like when Clair did stories on Jeffrey City and Shoshoni. Renee in Moorcroft. Jen Kocher in Chugwater. Mark Heinz in Hanna. Leo Wolfson in Jackson. Wendy Corr in Dayton and Ranchester.
We’re going to do more of these because they’re important. And they’re fun to do.
All of us, in fact, have claimed different communities to feature. I’ve got Wamsutter and Lusk. Leo has Node and Jay Em. Mark has Centennial, Rock River, and Adobe Town. Wendy is going back to Thermopolis and Meeteetse, Ten Sleep, and Lost Cabin are next. Clair is going to Atlantic City and South Pass City. And those are just the communities off the top of my head.
We love the idea of “Renée on the Road” because she can produce magic. So we’re working on that. A trip through southwestern Wyoming with stops in Rock Springs, Green River, Eden, Farson, Evanston, Lyman, Mountain View, and the communities of Star Valley is really necessary.
We need a southwestern bureau badly. Looking for reporters.
Everyone on our team lives in Wyoming because, just like I do, we love Wyoming.
Local ownership is the key. Many blame the Internet for the downfall of community journalism. It sure disrupted it. But lack of local ownership pounded the stake.
We’re just grateful that we are a Wyoming-owned company filled with Wyoming people.
All of this happened because of Wayne Hughes, the owner of Cowboy State Daily. We are forever grateful that he believed in the promise of this news organization.
We will keep delivering.
Thank you Wayne, and thanks to all the readers for supporting us.
Happy New Year from all of us at Cowboy State Daily.
Jimmy Orr, executive editor