By Jeff LaBonte

The Auburn Mass Daily was first published one year ago yesterday. Co-founder John Anderson and I were both kind of excited to write our retrospectives from the last year, and initially planned to publish them both on the anniversary date. We later decided to split them up, to avoid the risk of boring our readers to death.

Coincidentally, this article will be the 1,000th posted to AMD. I didn’t do it to steal John’s thunder, and we certainly did not have the foresight 12 months ago to plan it this way. So the fact that Article 1K fell so close to our actual anniversary date is quite fascinating (at least to us).

The original idea was for AMD was actually to be a centralized calendar for “All Things Auburn”, which became our tagline. I don’t think we’re quite at “all” things, but we’re working on it. In fact, the thing that surprised me most during my crash course in journalism was how much actually happens in our small town.

When we started AMD last August, we promoted the site using Facebook, e-mail and handing out reams of business cards to everyone we met. Our very first edition – August 26, 2013 – had 173 site views. That first week of publication, AMD saw 1,570 site views from 549 visitors. Yesterday’s edition alone had 1,554 site views from 700 visitors. Again, coincidentally, auburnmassdaily.com saw its 200,000th page view on Monday. That’s about 550 views every single day for the last year, on average.

On that first day, our Facebook Page hit 200 “Likes” and we were thrilled. We hit 300 “Likes” on September 9, about two weeks later. Today, we have 1,377 Facebook followers with a weekly post reach of about 20,000. We can also see that most of you view our Facebook page and our web site between 9am and 12pm – we promise not to tell your bosses.

The point is, the growth has been terrific. I still get excited every time someone new likes our Facebook page, follows us on Twitter, or subscribes to our daily e-mail. It is an indescribable rush to see friends and strangers reading and interacting with our web site Facebook page, and Twitter feed. It’s so much fun to see the “Shares” when someone’s child is featured in one of our photos or stories.

The past twelve months have been interesting, challenging, and educational. But most of all, they have been exciting. Journalism is not a pastime I ever envisioned pursuing. Truth be told, I still really don’t consider myself a “journalist”, but since Auburn Mass Daily has grown into a recognized media outlet, I guess it is one of the hats I now wear.

Thank you all for reading, to those who have invited us to cover their events, to those who submit photos and articles. I think AMD has developed a community feel, and that’s exactly the way we like it.

Here’s to the next 12 months.