District 161 parents look for answers but school board withholds comment

Editor’s note: This is the fourth in a series of stories reflecting on the Homewood-Flossmoor Chronicle’s first year of publishing. 

Every publication starts from zero. The Chicago Tribune had to sell its first newspaper before it could sell its millionth. The Homewood-Flossmoor Chronicle started from zero, too, but we’re encouraged by the steady increase in readers over the past year. 

Of course, the important thing is not raw numbers but whether we’re reaching the people we hope to reach. The Homewood-Flossmoor Chronicle is not really aiming for millions. 

Eric Crump

Our primary audience is roughly 30,000 people: those who live and work in Homewood and Flossmoor and the people who live elsewhere who have roots here and still care about their home community. 

On Facebook, 503 of our fans are from Homewood, 297 from Chicago, 94 from Flossmoor, 31 from Chicago Heights, 12 from Tinley Park. Less than 10 are from Park Forest, Glenwood, Lansing, Crete and Thornton. 

Considering we don’t actually have a marketing department and have depended on word of mouth (and word of Facebook) to introduce ourselves to the community, we’re pleased with the number of people who are regularly visiting our website and the number of looks our stories are getting.

Here are some numbers that provide a snapshot of where we’re at as of Tuesday, June 9:

The number of likes on the HF Chronicle Facebook page. Most people find our stories through the links we post on Facebook. 

Followers on Twitter.

The number of subscribers to our daily news update email. On average, 58 percent of recipients open the message each day, compared to an industry average of 17 percent, according to MailChimp, our mailing list provider. Sign up here if you’re interested in daily and breaking news about Homewood and Flossmoor.

The number of times pages at www.hfchronicle.com were viewed on Thursday, June 4.

The number of unique pageviews on the same day.

Our most popular stories, based on the number of pageviews on our website:

Flossmoor homeowner tackles burglary suspect; Homewood man arrested (March 25, 2015)

Sample PARCC tests give District 153 board members pause (Feb. 10, 2015)

Mayor: Portillo’s coming to Homewood (Jan. 27, 2015)

New Thornton Quarry reservoir ‘like no place else’ in the world  (May 28, 2015)

Portillo’s opens hiring office for 200 positions (June 8, 2015)

Our most popular stories, based on their reach on Facebook (reach is the number of people who have had a chance to see the post because it appears in their news feed):

Mayor: Portillo’s coming to Homewood (Jan. 27, 2015)

Parents are dedicated to fighting the disease that took their daughter (May 2, 2015)

Flossmoor homeowner tackles burglary suspect; Homewood man arrested (March 25, 2015)

Boy, 12, hospitalized after Parker Junior High attack (May 29, 2015)

Homeood firefighters honored for 3 Outstanding Calls (March 13, 2015)

Another set of numbers helps tell our story is the number of stories we publish. 

  • November 2014 (74)
  • December 2014 (93)
  • January 2015 (90)
  • February 2015 (81)
  • March 2015 (101)
  • April 2015 (69)
  • May 2015 (90)

Some of those stories are news releases, but most are original stories we write after attending meetings, doing interviews, attending events and doing research. 
There are many more stories out there, and our goal is to publish as many as we can while taking the time to get things right, to provide accurate, accessible, relevant information.


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