The Apopka Voice crossed a milestone last month when we celebrated five years in business as a local online news site. It's been an honor to tell the story of this incredible community every day, beginning on December 15th, 2015.
Since our beginning, we have published over 8,400 articles, built a Facebook page with over 7,100 followers, and have a monthly average of over 50,000 unique visits to our site. Clearly, we are the most read online publication in Apopka.
In December 2015, The Apopka Voice launched a news site to provide this community with a reliable news source in a format that was easy to access. In the digital world that we live in, that meant being online. We strived to bring a new approach to collecting news through original reporting, innovative storytelling, and provocative commentary when it is necessary. But, in the coming year, we plan to inform, engage, and inspire our readers at an even deeper level. We remain the first draft of local news in Apopka, but we want to take that a step further.
Informing, engaging, and inspiring our readers is the mission of The Apopka Voice. But in this day and age, with a shaky economic outlook, political unrest, and a pandemic raging, is that enough?
Specifically, in 2021, we want to do more for this community that has supported our efforts since 2015. We want to give back in more ways than just reporting the news. For this reason, we have decided to increase our efforts in three areas - enhancing local nonprofit organizations, extending opportunities for internship programs, and solution-based journalism that goes beyond standard news reporting.
In 2020, local nonprofit organizations became increasingly vital to Apopka, due in part to an increased amount of people in need during the COVID-19 pandemic. Their role in 2021 will again be far too important to the underserved in our community not to do everything possible to ensure their success.
Because of their challenges, The Apopka Voice will donate 25% of the total advertising revenues we receive from area businesses. What that means is if you advertise with us, 25% of those advertising-dollars will go to nonprofit organizations right here in Apopka.
Please visit our Advertising page for more information and to contact us regarding your advertising needs.
It was also a difficult year for college students and young journalists throughout Central Florida. With school closings and social-distancing, fewer students received practical experience in writing, reporting, and editing through internship programs typically offered by publications throughout the area. We believe these aspiring young journalists are the future of local news reporting, and that's why we will start an internship program in 2021 that will go well beyond the typical responsibilities interns might experience.
The Apopka Voice will give our interns a seat at the decision-making table and allow them to weigh-in on the stories we cover and the direction they want to see The Apopka Voice go. We look forward to the input and voice of the next generation of journalists.
In 2021, The Apopka Voice will also add a social-action component that not only reports but also takes steps to make a difference in the community. We will continue to take on the issues plaguing the community, such as homelessness, poverty, and the generational struggles of South Apopka, but also show potential ways to respond.
The editors, staff, and reporters of The Apopka Voice will bring the same attention and rigor to stories about responses to problems as they do to the issues themselves. And in doing so, we believe we can elevate the public discourse, spur citizen participation, and reduce polarization.
Please visit our Student Journalist Internship page for more details, deadlines and the application.
With this two-pronged plan for 2021, we believe this is the journalism and public service our community needs and our readers deserve. Original, independent, deeply-reported journalism is the fuel that powers a healthy and engaged community like Apopka. It's been the guiding vision for The Apopka Voice for five years now, and today we renew that commitment.