By Dan Campana
Because I’m professionally opposed to starting columns and stories with a question, please enjoy this throw-away sentence before the following rhetorical query.
How the heck did TTN get here? By here, I mean the one-year anniversary of the site’s debut on Tuesday. It’s been 12 months, close to 250 stories and many, many hours working to create something meaningful to the local law enforcement community.
Getting here didn’t happen by my hands alone. The help of chiefs, PIOs and front-line officers all made TTN stories possible. The contributions of Cop’s Eye View columnist Danny McGuire are amazingly informative and, often, poignant about what police officers see, feel and think in today’s environment. And, without question, the people who read and share TTN content or connect through Facebook or Twitter are by far the greatest asset a little website like this can ever hope to have.
The site averages approximately 4,100 page views per month, which I feel good about for a couple of reasons: I’m not aware of any comparable sites in this niche on the hyperlocal level. Second, TTN is powered by yours truly, a passion to tell good stories and that dedicated core audience which is slowly, but surely, growing.
So, where does TTN go next? That’s a question with both a challenging and simple answer.
The short retort is 50 Badges. Beginning Tuesday, TTN will begin a month filled with profiles of police officers from across the country. Why? Because not every place has a TTN and there are a seemingly endless supply of good stories about cops all over the place to tap into. As the bigshot editor calling the plays, I figured TTN’s 50 Badges project would be a unique and interesting gift to readers.
It’ll start in West Virginia with an officer who puts his heart into serving the community, honors the memory of those killed on Sept. 11 on the job and in charitable work, and isn’t afraid to credit Die Hard as part of his interest in becoming a cop.
I can’t wait to share his story and many others in the coming weeks.
Beyond May, TTN’s future is rooted in continuing to provide a home for the good news, and more of it, that officers have always clamored to see. While far from realized, the idea of securing sponsors to financially bolster TTN – which would allow me to contract with and pay quality writers who understand the mission – remains a goal. More writers mean more stories and more departments and officers receiving deserved recognition.
I’m always open to story ideas, site suggestions and thoughts on how to keep this thing moving in a positive direction, so don’t think twice about dropping me a note at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thank you for an intriguing first year. For now, onward.