Five years ago, when we launched St. Thomas Source — on Jan. 15, 1999 — we embarked on a journey with no road map.
Little did we know that we were on the cutting edge of a whole new world of Internet publishing. We were more concerned about offering an online news and information option to Virgin Islanders here and abroad. I was already accessing news from such publications as The New York Times and the Washington Post, so our venture seemed timely and not overly challenging or unusual.
As with so many things in life, had I been able to foresee the future, I might have choked on the starting line. But I couldn't, and therefore didn't.
A five-year anniversary is a good time to ask the question: Have we achieved what we had hoped?
To offer the whole story not just the sensational story of the Virgin Islands to Virgin Islanders everywhere and to the world.
To provide up-to-the-minute alternative, independent news to the community free.
Be a resource for all kinds of information about the Virgin Islands.
To stimulate interest in our islands from investors, visitors and potential residents.
To be there during natural disasters to give almost live coverage, in real terms, of the state of the islands.
Today, after countless struggles, with even greater personal rewards, I am grateful that we have been able to keep going and proud of the tremendous growth and strength we have achieved.
In that first month, we received 1,000 page requests. Today, we average 1.5 million page requests per month from about 50,000 unique visitors.
At this milestone there are countless people who need to be thanked. I won't name them, as I fear missing someone in the list.
As readers, you see many of their names within our pages regularly our reporters, writers and editors.
As readers, you also see the other important people our advertisers regularly within our pages, too. They are the heroes, especially those who signed on at the beginning and have stayed. They put their money where their convictions were and it has paid off for them, too.
Behind the scenes, too, many people have helped — donating countless hours to editing, advising and working to help me personally to develop new ways to make the Source an even better newspaper and tool for the community to use.
Thank-you must go as well to all the silent, but significant financial contributors.
Today, as a result of what I have experienced over these last five years, I believe even more strongly in the capability of the Internet to put power back in the hands of the people taking that power back from the big money, big power and big wheelers and dealers who control so much of the mainstream media, even here in our little Virgin Islands.
I am proud to be a member of this community even as I have had to expose its shortcomings in the hope that we will become an even better community as a result.
I am grateful to have had all of these 30 years in the Virgin Islands and to have had the opportunity to give something back to this wonderful community that has given so much to me.
Thank-you to our readers, especially the people of the Virgin Islands, near and far, for exercising your right to access to a free press by reading and contributing in name to the Source. Thank-you for all of your contributions and kind words and support over the last five years.
And a personal and important thank-you to my husband, my best friend, who has given all to see this venture, which means so much to me, continue to exist and grow.
Shaun A. Pennington
Publisher, V.I. Source newspapers
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