2021 Community Impact Report

2021 community impact report
Here at Mainstreet Daily News,

…we like to say that good local journalism matters—and that’s why we’re here. It’s not for a partisan agenda or shareholders. We’re here because North Central Florida is a special place and warrants the best journalistic coverage possible.

The Washington Post recently reported that some 2,200 local newspapers across America have closed their doors since 2005. This has led to an increasing number of “news deserts”—defined as counties that have no reliable source of news and information. Several of those are right here in North Central Florida.

We are pleased to report that, despite the headwinds, Mainstreet Daily News bucked these trends in 2021. We survived and thrived this year, bringing you street-level journalism that made a difference in our community—without leaving a single black ink smudge on your hands!

We’re pretty stoked about what we accomplished in 2021, so we wanted to share this report with you. It’s by no means comprehensive, but it helps to quantify how we moved forward in our first full year of operation and laid the foundation for more big developments in 2022. Stay tuned.

— J.C. Derrick
Publisher

meet the Mainstreet Daily News team for 2021

Staffing Up


Mainstreet started the year with reporter Suzette Cook, sports director Mike Ridaught and newly arrived publisher J.C. Derrick as our three full-time employees. In 2021 we added correspondent Camille Broadway, full-time reporter Seth Johnson and associate editor C.J. Gish—plus a group of other correspondents, including Ronnie Lovler and Ricky Quintana, who both brought decades of journalistic experience to our growing team.

2021 community impact report sports

New Projects


  • In January, we named our first All Area Football Team, which was later followed with All Area teams for basketball, baseball and softball.
  • In March, we launched Mike Ridaught’s twice-weekly sports newsletter, which has grown in both content and popularity.
  • In March, we debuted our Holiday History series, featuring correspondent Tim Price, who brings you the backstory on days of celebration and remembrance in our culture.
  • Also in March, we started a months-long series called My Foodie Recipe, featuring delicious recipes by local radio host Larry Wilson.
  • In April, we launched a secure portal for readers to financially support our work. Mainstreet’s content is free and open to all, but we cannot do it alone, so we’re grateful for those who have partnered with us!
  • In May, we unveiled a new daily headlines newsletter on the MailerLite platform, leading to a tripling in readership.
  • In August, we launched a weekly football live stream broadcast.

2021 community impact report basketball

  • In August, we added a high school sports scoreboard featuring live scores and AI-produced game recaps published minutes after games end. Mainstreet is the only outlet in Florida using this AI technology.
  • In the fall we ran two newsletter signup promotions, giving away Gator football tickets and Visa gift cards to new readers.
  • In September, we launched area cross country power rankings, compiled and written by longtime cross country reporter Ricky Quintana.
  • In October, we debuted a community calendar of events.
  • Also in October, we added the Extra! Extra! feature in our daily newsletter–highlighting links to additional stories and information.
  • In November, we launched the Florida Finds series, which highlights museums, landmarks and other hidden gems worth visiting around North Florida.
  • In December, we picked up Gary Simpson’s popular fishing report, a staple of the local community for decades.
2021 Stories Collage

Stories


2021 community impact report trending up

What They Are Saying


You, our readers, give us a vote of confidence every day when you read and share our work. We are grateful that our website traffic has more than doubled between the first and second half of 2021. Our social media engagement numbers have also risen sharply.

We’re also fortunate to have developed partnerships with community leaders and stakeholders. Here’s what some of them had to say about Mainstreet:

“We are fortunate to have strong local news media in our community, and Mainstreet has been an exceptional addition to our local reporting. Our neighbors need to be informed in order to have an impact, and Mainstreet makes sure they have the information they need to be knowledgeable and effective!”

— Gainesville Mayor Lauren Poe

“I appreciate Mainstreet Daily News covering the local stories in our community. They always look to share the great things happening in our smaller communities as well as the Gainesville metro market.”

— Hawthorne City Commissioner and longtime Mayor Matt Surrency

“Local reporting is a critical component of a healthy and engaged community. Alachua County is very fortunate to have Mainstreet Daily News covering the local government beat. Its stories are well written, go in depth, and are fair and objective.”

— Alachua County Legislative Affairs Director Mark Sexton

Looking Ahead


Our goal is to become the go-to source for news, information and sports in North Central Florida. Toward that end, we are working on numerous projects to help us serve the community better, including live events, high school basketball broadcasts, a membership program, a collaborative partnership with Google and much more.

Thank you for your support in 2021. And if you think this year was exciting, wait until 2022!

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