Yet another sign that we are living in a digital world

Published 12:00 am Friday, June 20, 2008

By Kevin Chiri

Nice to be getting back home today.

I’ve been in Minnesota much of the week with a publisher’s conference put together by L’Observateur’s parent company, Wick Communications, and it was a great experience getting a chance to see an area of the country I had never seen.

We spent the past few days in the heart of Minneapolis at the Marquette Hotel and spent our days with the business meetings on the 50th floor of the business center.

Of course our first guest speaker was trying to keep everyone’s attention since there were these huge glass windows along one wall of the conference room, and with the curtains open, you had a fabulous view of Minneapolis from 50 floors up. It was pretty neat.

We spent much of our first day in the meetings talking about the growing presence newspapers are starting to have on the Internet, and I thought it was pretty appropriate from the standpoint of L’Observateur, since we have made some major strides in the past six months to upgrade our site.

It was at the beginning of this year that we upgraded our site in many ways, adding many more stories, pictures, additional pages that added Lifestyle news, columns, obituaries and more from our paper.

But without a doubt, the biggest thing we did to change our web site was to add blog commentaries for the public at the end of any story we had from the newspaper.

Our blog comments have grown by leaps and bounds since we began them, so much so that we went from over 64,000 page views for the month of December to over 121,000 page views for the month of May.

I’m actually wondering when the growth will slow down, but clearly our web site is getting a lot of interest since we have made the improvements. I think it is a good thing since we want to be the information source in every way we can when you want the River Region news, and the growth of the web site and our newspaper shows that we have done that.

    The growth of our web site has come at a time that will coincide with something pretty special L’Observateur will kick off this Monday for our advertisers.

Our sales staff will be hitting the streets on Monday, going to local advertisers as we offer advertising space we will be selling on our web site.

All you have to do is look at the numbers and the growth on our web site and I think it’s pretty clear that it is a great place to be for any business if you are interested in a steady presence in front of the local buying public.

If you haven’t been contacted yet for an appointment with one of our sales reps, please call our office on Monday since we are having just a three days sales blitz of the region to sell these limited spots.

We have an Internet advertising specialist who is coming into town to work with our ad reps on this project, so any questions you might have about how our web site can best help your business prosper will be answered if you are lined up with one of the appointments in the next three days.

If you are interested in one of the spots on our web site, please call our paper on Monday at 652-9545 since we are holding this Internet Sales Blitz Monday through Wednesday only. These spots will be sold for the next 12 months and I assure you it is not a sales pitch on my own when I tell you the spots are limited. So give us a call Monday.

A somewhat special Happy Second Birthday to my sweet little granddaughter Abby, who is visiting with us right now. Abigail Rose is the first granddaughter for the wife and I, this one coming from our daughter Jenny and her husband Zach, so no doubt she is a special young lady. She just turned two this past week, but unfortunately I went out of town and am just getting the chance to use a little column space to tell her “Happy Birthday.”

I have to say that after all my public discussions about turning into a grandfather, which all started a little over two years ago of course, I now have to say that the grandparent thing is everything I was told it would be by those already in “The Club.”

Yes, it’s great to enjoy the grandchildren, then send them home when you want a break again.

Of course we started adding the grandkids pretty quickly after Abby since little Jerry Scott was born last December to my oldest daughter Chrissy and her husband Jerry.

And now Jenny is pregnant again so grandchild number three is on the way.

Abby is calling me “Papa” as my wife wanted, and even though I keep saying “Grandpa” to her, I have a feeling the Papa thing is going to stick.

And when Abby runs up to me when I walk in the door from work and yells “Papa! Papa!” you know I cannot complain. As sweet as she is, I’ll listen to that any day.

Kevin Chiri is Publisher of L’Observateur and can be reached at (985) 652-9545 or at