This week’s The Big Five is a nod to you, the readers. As this year comes to a close, Flagler News Weekly reached a milestone over Christmas that at the start of this endeavor, I had never considered. Of course numbers mean things to advertisers, who want to ensure the dollars invested are reaching an audience but this is something even more.

Since starting Flagler News Weekly on February 22, 2021, we have had more than 5.5 MILLION visits to the news website. Verified.

Talk about a BIG FIVE.

That means that 5.5 million times this year readers have visited Flagler News Weekly to read about our community, about our stories, accomplishments, achievements, challenges and collaborations. They’ve visited Flagler News Weekly to read about new businesses, arts and culture, entertainment, our schools and the exciting projects our students are working on, our first responders and the great work they do in the community, public safety and more, here in Flagler County and beyond.

And these readers aren’t just your neighbors.

More than 4.8 million readers from across the United States have checked in, and even more exciting, readers from around the globe are finding out more about our region of Florida through Flagler News Weekly. Our top five readers from outside the U.S. have come from Ireland, Canada, Great Britain, China and France, and among our globally identified visitors are thousands of readers from Chile, India, the Russian Federation, Germany, Italy, Sweden, the Philippines and Australia.

Seriously, worldwide.

As we have steadily attracted more readers, December was a record-breaking month with more than 1,285,340 visits to Flagler News Weekly.

Why does this matter?

In 10 months since inception we’ve built a trusted, reliable, and timely news service from the ground up that delivers stories from our local community and region in addition to offering a look at what’s happening at the state and national level.

All of this has been possible through the support of community members who share their tips while trusting us to tell their stories accurately and with compassion, and the advertisers who took a chance on a startup with an established journalist who loves what she gets to do on a daily basis and the freedom that comes with being both publisher and managing editor.

On top of it all, Flagler News Weekly is a 100% woman-owned business in an industry that is competitive to say the least, and there are no outside influences or behind-the-scenes investors pulling the strings. It’s real news, real local.

It’s been my honor to have your trust, support and confidence over this past year as we launched Flagler News Weekly, and I am incredibly grateful for your continued support.  Under the Sunrise Media Group we also launched Top Shelf Florida Quarterly in August 2021 and I’m especially excited to see that grow in 2022 as well.

They say if you love what you do you’ll never work a day but I have to disagree.

This is hard work, but it’s some of the most rewarding work I’ve ever done, and some of the most humbling. Laughing, crying, cheering and listening as you share your stories and experiences with the world fills my heart with hope and determination.

Thank YOU for helping to make this first year awesome.

Best wishes for a Safe & Happy New Year!