Peter Vankevich and Connie Leinbach, co-owners of the Ocracoke Observer.  Photo by Ruth Fordan
Peter Vankevich and Connie Leinbach, co-owners of the Ocracoke Observer. Photo by Ruth Fordan

We thank all of our readers, subscribers, advertisers and so many of you that gave such great suggestions in making 2014 a very successful year the Ocracoke Observer. Our first executive decision when we purchased the newspaper in March was to go from the  projected six print issues a year to 10, not publishing only in January and February.

We did this somewhat on “blind faith,” believing that if we created good content, we would have our island community, off-island subscribers and advertisers take in interest in the paper, and we believe we have accomplished this.

Reading this you know that there is a now a website component of the Observer. We launched it last summer and now have more than 250 postings, many of them on Ocracoke’s culture, history and nature. You can find the categories on the home page and we encourage you to take a look.

A website was inevitable.  Almost all print newspapers have websites these days and we consider this an integral supplement to our paper.

Ocracoke is fortunate to now have two online news services, check us both out. We will cover different issues and when we cover the same, perhaps provide different perspectives.

We want our website to be unique and appealing to a broad readership. It is multilingual with articles about Ocracoke in French, German and Spanish.  French and German are posts that we hope will encourage foreigners to visit our island. Spanish will be a working language providing information to those living on the island. We have an audio component that will increase. Ambassador Leonard Meeker’s now legendary lecture at the Ocracoke library in October of 2012 can now be heard on this website.

Ocracoke Observer team  with Jock Lauterer, in back
Ocracoke Observer team with Jock Lauterer, in back

So many of you have offered excellent suggestions for the Ocracoke Observer, and we cannot thank you enough.  We want to note two major league advisers in particular. Jock Lauterer   the director of the Carolina Community Media Project and senior lecturer at the UNC-Chapel Hill School of Journalism and Mass Communication and the author of “Community Journalism: Relentlessly Local.”  Jock  visited us and gave an excellent workshop for the many writers of the Observer.

James Grimaldi IMG_7359The other to thank is James Grimaldi, an investigative reporter with the Wall Street Journal. During his tenure at the Washington Post, he was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for investigative reporting in 2006 for his work on the Jack Abramoff lobbying scandal. Their many suggestions and support have been immeasurable but, we hope, obvious.

We also thank all of our contributors–writers and photographers–for their invaluable help this year. They are what makes the Ocracoke Observer compelling reading.    We’ll be back with a print issue soon.  So, here’s to a great 2015!

—Peter and Connie

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