This week, we are celebrating our 26th anniversary.
The Manchester Times debuted on April 18, 1995. Six more papers eventually joined: The Berkeley Times (1996), The Jackson Times (2000), The Brick Times (2002), The Howell Times (2004), The Toms River Times (2005), and The Southern Ocean Times (2013).
A 26th anniversary isn’t one of those nice round numbers like 25 or 30. You won’t find a banner at a party store.
But it’s still a significant achievement, especially considering a lot of other local businesses shut down in this last year. Scores of local people lost their jobs. Thousands lost loved ones.
This time last year, I wrote a column about our company’s 25th anniversary. The pandemic had just hit, and I wrote with the hope that things were going to get better. It’s been a year now, and maybe it’s the shot in my arm talking, but I’m more optimistic now.
In the last year, we wrote stories about people having drive-through weddings and birthdays. Graduation parades and 3-D printed masks showed how creative people could get to solve problems. People still find a way to hit the high notes.
And that’s something worth celebrating.
So we’re not just patting ourselves on the back. We’re cheering you on. Whenever we write a story about someone doing good in their community, we’re saying “thank you.” When we highlight a resident who is tackling a problem head-on, we are putting a spotlight on them. We are hoping that their compassion and ingenuity can inspire others.
But enough about us. Let’s talk about you.
If you’re holding this paper in your hand, or reading this online, it means that you care about what’s happening in your community. You want to know what new businesses are coming to your town. You want to know what’s happening with your taxes, or open space, or a million other topics. You also care about what the powers that be are doing in Trenton and Washington, because their decisions impact us all.
Our website traffic ranges anywhere from 100,000 to 250,000 unique visits a month. Given that there’s about 600,000 or so adults in all of Ocean County and Howell (our coverage area), that means that at least one in six people are reading us every month.
That’s only the online readership. That doesn’t include the people picking us up in Wawa, grocery stores, restaurants, doctors’ offices and other spots.
You read us because you want to know what’s happening – the good and the bad. There’s a lot of gloom and doom in the news. We wouldn’t be doing our job if we only showed you the good news. But we also want to show you ways that things are getting better.
So join us as we showcase the best that the Jersey shore has to offer. More than just the beaches and entertainment, but the people who live here year-round who work hard to educate our children, serve us in stores and restaurants, entertain us, and keep us safe.
Come along this year and celebrate with us.