The Ypsilanti Citizen began initial formation and development in 2007, and was launched in November 2008 by myself and two other Eastern Michigan University journalism graduates. The goal was to inform the Ypsilanti community about area news and events in a regular and timely manner – a need we felt wasn’t being met by other area news sources.
Revenue increased annually and traffic to the website reached nearly 12,000 per month at peak months. As the Citizen continued to grow and my business partner and I helped launch a monthly print publication iSPY.
After a few years of pursuing the Ypsilanti Citizen, the remaining partner (Dan DuChene) and I decided not to continue the business. Here’s a excerpt from our final editorial:
“…Since our launch, the Citizen has continued to see growth in both our readership and revenue. We have used search engine optimization and social networking to drive increased traffic to our site, which helped us carve our niche in the community and attract advertisers.
Every minute of our work on the Citizen has been rewarding and enjoyable. We feel the product we created was a valuable asset and resource for Ypsilantians and we stand behind what we have created.
However, it is with a somber feeling that we announce the Ypsilanti Citizen will no longer be providing news to the Ypsilanti community. This is effective immediately.
We do not view the experiment of creating a professional Web-based news platform for Ypsilanti as a failure. The Citizen was always able to deliver accurate information to the community that was often over-looked by other media outlets in the area. The Citizen was also able to garner profit and continual growth every quarter with no exceptions.
The Citizen was the only locally-owned news source in Ypsilanti and we are proud to have offered that for the amount of time we could. We did this as two residents and community members and we ran it on an experimental Internet-only platform.
As the Citizen is locally owned by two residents, who are recent Eastern Michigan University graduates and young journalists in the area, it is heavily impacted by whatever is happening in our personal lives. Likewise, our personal lives were often heavily impacted by the success of the Citizen.
Although we have seen continual growth, it has not achieved sustainable profit margins that would allow us to rely on the Citizen as a sole source of income. In addition, recent developments in both of our personal lives has created a situation where we find it difficult to effectively run the business. …”