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Feb-10-2010 00:59printcomments

Oregon News Website Sees Increases on a Global Scale existed when 'blogs' were still called 'Web logs' - long before much of what you see today ever hit the Internet.

(SALEM, Ore.) - has seen Internet traffic spike in recent weeks, as well as heightened rankings in the U.S. and on a worldwide level, according to now has an Alexa World Traffic Rank of 94,094, and has seen the U.S. Traffic Rank grow to 20,593 of all U.S. websites. Our 5/10 page ranking on Google continues, which is an extremely positive example of what five and a half consistent years of daily news can mean to an organization.

Days with an excess of 18,000 unique visitors are not uncommon, nor are 24-hour periods where more than 50k page views are logged.

A new redesign of the front page that has been going into place since 1 Feb. may be a large part of the popularity increase. Web Designer Matt Lintz added expanded capability to the sections people see when they open the front page, and the staff has been taking full advantage of the new ability to add relevant links. Now many of the main topics and top stories are at the ready and easy to navigate, "more to do, and see, faster." shows very competitive over last month

New links to stories and other offerings are now easily within reach, and perhaps the most popular change is the ability for readers to quickly access their favorite writers. They are not all in place yet but it is coming along.

The story of is interesting. It started as a reaction to the lack of coverage that Salem, Oregon typically receives from Oregon media, when its founder, Tim King, was part of the KATU Channel-2 News Team in Portland. What started as a way of getting extra stories out, the ones he couldn't sell to the station's producers, blossomed into a leading News Website that you can hardly navigate the Internet without encountering.

Bonnie King took the reins as Publisher in those first months, and the loose ends quickly came together as made its launch into the realm of mainstream media as the nation's first independently owned news site.

As the site grew and came up through the ranks, it continued to draw a diverse audience from Oregon and all over. Experienced writers from around the nation and world began contributing to Salem-News on a regular basis. Today the site is very much a national and worldwide gathering place, as well as a local one. existed when 'blogs' were still called 'Web logs' - long before much of what you see today ever hit the Internet. Most blogs involve the dissemination of existing news stories that are published online. publishes its own stories, and is very different from a blog. The comments section of each story however, has a tendency to allow the same type of viewer generated dialog that you might see on a blog, thus encompassing the best of both worlds.

Another aspect to the story is that the site literally embraced the Internet from its earliest days, and has been generating news exclusively for the Internet the whole time. Most news Websites are offshoots of newspapers, like and

Bonnie King interviews Lee Morgan, 1/2010
Photo by Dexter Phoenix is an extremely successful Website, and it should be as a product of the Oregonian Newspaper. Unlike other news Websites, this group invested substantially and took it seriously from the beginning, they acted "outside the newspaper box".

But the fact that has been able to rise to the point it has with a single full time news editor, Tim King, is very noteworthy. Never have so few done so much with a new media product. Blazing away at it seven days a week for several years with a band of writers who all have very unique attributes, Salem-News has been willing to take on subjects like the wars overseas, Israeli politics and medical marijuana, while gaining numbers the whole time.

Tim says the only reason it has worked out this way, is that dozens of talented writers have been able to see the same vision. "They are willing to contribute with nothing in return, except the gratification that real published journalism brings," King said. "Our writers respond to their own comments as often as possible, and take on real dialog with readers, and it is the only site like it under the sun." is inviting serious inquiries for business partnerships and possible investment. Tim King says, "Now is the time. We're in a mode of growth, and we always need more fuel for the fire. So if you've got something you want to talk about, we're open to grand ideas."

Tim King reporting in Iraq 9/08

There have been many notable victories along the way, like the series of reports that exposed the deadly toxic contamination of the closed down Marine Corps air base El Toro in California, others that showed the true side of evil racism and religious fanaticism, and domestic violence - always subjects that other media is shy to examine, as well as Tim King's reports from places like Afghanistan, Kuwait and Iraq.

"We've brought Tim's stories to viewers direct from the war zones, and we've got TV cameras on the news beat right here at home," Bonnie King said, explaining the value of video news. "Viewers have high expectations of their news, and we understand that. News is serious business, and we give it its due respect."

Not only is there more video on almost daily, but each new report is available for sponsorship.

"The great thing about having your commercial intro the news is that it doesn't 'go away'," King said. "We archive all our stories, including the video news pieces, and they're available in perpetuity, right here online."

It increasingly appears that's sacrifice in advertising over covering medical marijuana, will also have a big payoff.

"Having the wherewithal to step forward and present the topics of medical marijuana, industrial hemp, and even decriminalization has put us at odds with some narrow minded folks, but now that they see the public consensus supports a common sense approach, they're being much more supportive."

Medical marijuana is just one aspect of the business that sets this news group apart from the rest.

Another is that unlike most newspapers, a pay subscription service for this company is not going to happen, the belief at is that would be unethical.

"The demise of the newspaper business has created a ton of 'lines of revenue' that never existed before, and look what it has done for them. News is a service to the community, not only for the privileged few with a credit card. Our viewers will never have to pay to see a story we have published. That is our vow."

Supporting independent news is a solid way to deliver a message of confidence in the worthiness of a free press, and an enlightened public at large.

"An online component is mandatory in today's marketing plan. If it's not already built in," Bonnie King says, "it's time to rethink your 2010 strategy. There's nary a target market that isn't looking for answers on the Internet, young or old, regardless of where they live, or how they spend their time. The thing is, more get their news online than anywhere else."

With 225 million Americans online, its no wonder has become the daily news choice for so many, and is adding more to the viewership rollcall every day.

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Daniel Johnson February 25, 2010 2:23 am (Pacific time)

I read Salem-News everyday because my mother makes me. It's either that or eat the Brussels sprouts.

gp February 10, 2010 8:27 am (Pacific time)

way to go! go team go!

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