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MinnPost in 2012: Continued growth in readers and donors

MinnPost 2012 Year End ReportMinnPost celebrated its fifth birthday this year with a redesigned site, another small surplus, and continued growth in readers and donors.

You can read our full year-end report here [PDF]. Some highlights:

The site had about 12.5 million page views in 2012, up 13%. Pages viewed by Minnesotans rose 12.6%, to 8.5 million. That’s 130% higher than in our first full year of publishing, 2008.

Visits to the site by Minnesotans rose 2.3% to about 3.8 million. The average Minnesota visitor looked at 2.25 pages per visit, up 10%, thanks in part to easier navigation made possible by site redesign in February.

Site traffic on the three days surrounding Election Day 2012 was triple what it was for the same days in 2008. 

Other areas of rapid growth include mobile traffic and social media engagement. More than 20,000 follow us on Twitter (up 40%) and 7,000 like us on Facebook (up 24%). We have more than 26,000 followers on Tumblr.

In year 5, we significantly expanded our journalistic ambitions. Eric Black’s series on the Constitution, “Imperfect Union: The Constitutional Roots of the Mess We’re In,” and the Sharon Schmickle/Steve Date series on “Casinos on Indian Reservations: The New Buffalo?” were groundbreaking examples of MinnPost’s approach. Our newsroom received six Page One Awards for excellence in journalism from the Society of Professional Journalists. A report on journalism highlights of the year starts on page 2 of the year-end report.

Responding to that coverage, our base of individual donors continues to expand. More than 560 people donated for the first time in 2012, and we had a total of 2,063 donors for the year, up more than 8% over 2011. Perhaps most important for our long-term viability, two-thirds of those donors were sustaining members -- which means they give automatically every month or year, or they have donated for three or more years in a row. Sustainers have an S after their names on the donor list in the year-end report. For more about sustaining membership go to www.minnpost.com/support.

For the third straight year, MinnPost posted a modest surplus, this time $19,228 on spending of $1,492,008. Overall revenue was $1,511,236, with gains in donations and events offsetting a decline in advertising revenue. Foundation grants remained stable at about 20% of revenues. Our financial report is on page 4.   

A few other highlights of 2012:

  • Almost 900 people attended MinnRoast 2012 at the Pantages Theatre. Gov. Mark Dayton, Sen. Al Franken, gubernatorial candidates Tom Emmer and Tom Horner, St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman, MPR leaders Jon McTaggart and Dave Kansas appeared on stage along with MinnPost journalists and other media personalities.
  •  A Fifth Anniversary Celebration on November 12 at Solera attracted 35 sponsors and 300 attendees. MinnPost Milestones 2007-2012 compiled for the anniversary celebration are included at the end of the report.
  • The four-year growth capital campaign to Take MinnPost to the Next Level passed $630,000 in total pledges.
  • We established a new Earth Journal Circle to support expanded coverage of the environment, energy and related issues with three-year funding by a small group of committed donors. Founders are listed on page 4. We hope to establish one or two more groupfunded beats starting in 2013.

Our staff and board recently conducted a strategic review, and we decided that our strategy going forward is to focus primarily on deepening relationships with the more than 60,000 people who read MinnPost at least twice a month, and secondarily on continuing to add additional readers who care about Minnesota. 

To strengthen relationships, we will expand opportunities for readers to contribute content to the site and engage with interactive data, and we aim to make it easier for visitors to find additional content.

We will also experiment with ways to attract new readers. An expanded Google grant will give us up to $40,000 a month in free advertising on Google Search, up from $10,000 a month last year, which we’ll use to attract visitors searching for specific content.

Heartfelt thanks to our hard-working editors, technology and business staff, journalists, advertisers, sponsors, Board of Directors, Advisory Council, MinnRoast and Fifth Anniversary sponsors, comment moderators and other volunteers. And extra thanks to all our donors, from Copy Boys and Girls to Media Moguls. Your names are listed starting on page 10.

If you haven’t yet become a donor, please consider this a personal invitation to join the MinnPost family. Your support makes courageous, independent journalism for people who care about Minnesota an ongoing reality.

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