By Samuel P. Martin
Birmingham Times Publisher
One year ago, I wrote a column introducing what we called the “reimagined” Birmingham Times. It was my attempt to explain the journey our publication would be on as we began to reposition for the future.
Considering what the media landscape would look like maybe 50 years from now was a pretty ambitious goal, but I’ve always been told that you must have goals if you want to accomplish anything. I described the feeling as one of a parent experiencing the arrival of a new baby. And one year later, I still feel like the proud parent of this baby, who turns a year old on May 19, 2017.
At the one-year mark, the Birmingham Times has taken more than just baby steps. And like any parent I am very proud of what this publication has become, and I look forward to watching it continue to grow.
We are hearing from all corners of the community that the “reimagined” Birmingham Times is filling many of the gaps that some traditional media outlets have been unable or unwilling to fill. I don’t think many people believed that this little weekly newspaper on Birmingham’s west side would be the catalyst for so many important discussions we need to have in this community—whether about politics, business, or education.
In my May 19, 2016, column, I told you what you should expect from the Birmingham Times. I promised that we would inform, engage, and empower you. And I hope we’ve been doing just that over the past year.
Our transition to a smaller, tabloid-size page creatively designed around a centerpiece story has accomplished exactly what we had hoped—that our loyal readers would rediscover the venerable Birmingham Times and our new readers would discover “BT.”
A year ago, I said the Birmingham Times would be unpredictable in what we covered. I said you should expect diverse topics and diverse faces. And, while I indicated that we would continue to cover the community from an African-American perspective, I said everyone in the Magic City should feel welcome to read the Times. I think we’ve done just that with compelling features on human trafficking; organ donation; the historic election of nine African-American female judges; violence in the city and its impact on families and neighborhoods; domestic abuse; autism; and the revitalization of the Ensley community—to name a few.
Our online reimagining has been pretty dramatic, as well. BirminghamTimes.com is more robust with better navigation and, more importantly, diverse content and compelling art. We have committed to giving our digital readers reasons to come back to our website each day by providing daily updates. We also have been more active on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram as we expand our reach.
The response to our digital efforts has been phenomenal! Our web traffic has grown exponentially, as have our social media followers. These entry points to our content are important aspects of our growth and our ability to ensure that we are around for some time to come.
I hope that you—our loyal readers and our new readers—feel the same connection readers of the Birmingham Times have felt for more than 50 years: that the Times is like family. I realize that we have even more work to do, and we look forward to spending the next year addressing topics and issues that will make our print and online vehicles even better.
Thanks so much for your support. We are excited about the next year and beyond, as we continue to share the “reimagined” Birmingham Times with you.