Every year presents a new challenge. Quite frankly, the challenges for a small community newspaper come with each weekly deadline, if not daily. But, like many individuals or businesses, we tend to really reflect on challenges and opportunities on an annual basis.

April 1 marked The County Journal’s 12th year serving the greater-Charlotte area, and looking back over the course of the past year, we have to appreciate the opportunity we still have. Without a doubt there is excitement building in our communities. There has been much to celebrate, whether it was our local high school athletic and band programs competing at the highest level, or the Governor recognizing the economic revitalization taking place.

At the same time, the newspaper industry continues to face the challenges associated with social media advertising, targeted marketing, and digital media. We’ve done our best to keep pace and remain a vital source of information for our readers. It is with great appreciation for our local advertisers and readers that we are able to continue to reach close to 20,000 homes each Friday and Saturday.

Meeting those challenges head on, County-journal.com receives thousands of hits each week, and our digital editions continue to gain readership every month. In the past year we’ve grown our Facebook (@MICountyJournal), and Twitter (@countyjournal) following while continuing to explore ways to partner with local advertisers to meet their digital needs. Maybe the best feature included on our website is the ability to go back and read all of the top stories from the communities we cover — Bellevue, Charlotte, Maple Valley, Mulliken, Olivet, Potterville, and Sunfield. You can also peruse the digital edition of every County Journal and Flashes Advertising and News published in the last year. A new and exciting addition to our website has been the partnership with Charlotte High School’s student newspaper, The Orange and Black, which is featured digitally each week.

These challenges are opportunities, and we’ve always welcomed new opportunities to reach our audience.

We came along at a turbulent time for small town America. When John Gaedert founded the paper in 2006, no one could foresee the challenging times ahead for the United States economy and just how hard that would impact our nation’s smaller communities. I’m not sure anyone locally fully understood the challenges facing newspapers and the threat of social media and online news and advertising content.

Weathering that storm is something for which we should all be proud, for brighter times certainly lie ahead.

I encourage you to take a look, share your thoughts and to follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for all of the latest news hitting Eaton County.