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Hello! Welcome to the Mountain Home Observer!
We’re excited that you’ve joined us in our journey of starting a news company in Mountain Home.
This website is our launching point for what will become a full weekly paper and we hope you’re impressed. My wife and I have spent the last couple months working day and night to get this website up.
It’s been a long time coming, but we couldn’t be more excited that launch day is finally here.
For the past few weeks, I’ve been working behind the scenes writing stories to help give our news site a strong launch. I hope you enjoy the content. If you haven’t read the article about the Coulter Celebration of Lights yet, I highly recommend it.
The Coulter’s have done amazing things for our community and their story is interesting. They were a pleasure to work with.
While I have your attention, I’d like to go over a little bit about the site and how it got to where it is today.
After leaving the Baxter Bulletin at the end of this summer, my wife and I had a difficult decision to make. We could sell the house we just purchased in July and move on to another paper, or we could plant our roots and start our own. I think we made the right decision in staying in Mountain Home.
We love this small American town and our sleepy neighborhood.
Every detail on this website pays homage to Mountain Home and the Twin Lakes area. When I was out in town reporting on the great people of this community, I made sure to listen to what people wanted in a newspaper.
I was told repeatedly that local reporting was mostly gone, replaced by AP and USA Today articles from other parts of the country. People were disconnected from their paper and their journalists.
My goal with the Observer is to get to the heart of that issue. You won’t find national or state-level articles on our site or in our weekly print when it goes live. We’re focused on our community and our community alone.
The only out-of-town content you’ll be seeing on our site is the occasional article from Dave Ramsey. More on that later.
We’re also a fully independent newspaper. A corporation does not own us, and we have no financial backers. We built this with our own hands and our own money.
We felt compelled to go this route for creative reasons. We also feel we can respond to your needs faster by maintaining control of the Observer.
This leads back to the Dave Ramsey column. As a family, we would not have been able to do this if we had debt. Before we were married, my wife and I were both heavily in debt: credit cards, auto loans, medical bills, and my wife’s student loans. We were resolved to get rid of it.
We followed Ramsey’s Baby Steps on becoming debt-free and paid off all of our debt, a little over $80,000, by our first wedding anniversary. For this reason, we’ve joined Ramsey Solutions in putting Ramsey’s column on our site. We hope that Dave’s advice helps other families struggling to make ends meet while drowning in debt payments.
Speaking of the website, you may have noticed the bright, bold colors we’ve used in our design. That was on purpose.
We went back and forth on the design of our site but finally settled on these colors after the colors in Rapps Barren Brewing Companies mural spoke to us. The mural, which Corey McMahon and his wife painted, is one of our favorites.
It captures the spirit and energy of Mountain Home. We hope we did the same.
I’d also like to bring attention to our community calendar. It took a lot of work to get up and running, but it’s ready to go. The free calendar is available to any local government, business, organization, or public event to use.
We’ve already begun pulling events from some of the other calendars in town and invite everyone to join in and upload their events so that everyone can know what’s going on in our area. If you have any issues uploading an event, don’t hesitate to contact [email protected].
Finally, our work on the site is not done. We’re currently in the process of finishing a syndication deal for online comics and interactive puzzles. If all goes well, that feature should be public in the next week or so.
We’re also working on our phone app and our ad system. We’re currently offering businesses an entire month of ads for $75 per month. If you’re interested in advertising with us, please contact [email protected]. Alison will be publishing an article on how our ads will work this week.
As promised in our newsletter, the Observer will be free to everyone until April 1. After the first, we will be moving to an $8 a month subscription service, with five free articles available a month for those that do not wish to subscribe.
Our phone app is also in progress but will take time as we have to go through Apple’s approval process to get the app on the App Store. The Google Play Store is not as difficult and will probably be available first.
We’ve also begun work on creating an obituary system for our website. We wanted to make our obit page special and researched how different papers and websites do theirs. We’ve finally honed in on what we wanted and are working to make it happen.
And now for the big elephant in the room, print. Since joining the news industry, looking for printing solutions has been one of the biggest eye-openers. It’s insanely expensive, and working printing presses are getting more difficult to find.
It’s my goal to own one and plant it firmly in Mountain Home’s downtown. While that may not happen right away, we have begun looking at other printing solutions to assist us in getting out a printed weekly paper.
We’ll launch a sign-up for those interested in receiving our weekly edition when we find a solution that we’re happy with. Slow and steady wins the race.
With that, I wish every one of you a Merry Christmas. Please enjoy your holidays and share special moments with your families.
Chris & Alison Fulton