29 December 2018

A State of The Piedmont Chronicles (SOTPC) Address by Editor-in-Chief M.B. McCart & the Condensed History of TPC

Your Source for the REAL Story


| Covington, GA | Newton Co. |

To the distinguished readership of The Piedmont Chronicles,

My friends, the state of The Chronicles is strong! Very strong, indeed, and it couldn't have happened with you - our loyal readers, and we are so VERY grateful for that. Thank You! And with all of us working together, striving for that more perfect union of TPC, it is my belief that we can all achieve our shared dreams, desires & objectives, one dope-a-licious & kick-ass write-up at a time. It's been a great ride, and here's to the future! 

But seriously, 2018 has been a banner year for the ole publication, and I am truly thrilled & grateful for it. Before we get into some particulars, let's go back to the beginning.

Back in the Summer of 2010, when I first started a Blogger/Blogspot Blog to house my columns from About Covington to Madison magazine, TPC was really a secondary thing. At that time I had a site called the "East Metro Blog" where I posted some of my HS Thompsonian political ramblings, and was only using TPC for housing those pieces in the aforementioned publication. The East Metro blog had actually started up in 2005 (back in the early days of "weblogging") as a vehicle for The East Metro Atlanta Libertarian Party, a local political party & an affiliate for the GA LP that I'd started up with some friends of mine at the time (interesting side bar: the East Metro Blog was, according to him, the inspiration for a fella named Jason Pye to get into blogging), but later transitioned it to my own personal place of punditry. 

Though, really, and as a handful of folks out there can tell you, The Piedmont Chronicles goes all the way back to 1998 when I started a novel under the same name. 20 years later, after multiple stops & starts, it's still put up on the shelf but is...I'd guess it's close to half way done. I've pretty much got the rest of it in my head, but I haven't been motivated enough to try to finish it. If I do, that begs the question of whether or not I'd need to change the title to head off any confusion. Currently, I'm leaning towards calling it, "The Piedmont Chronicles: The Novel!"  

But I digress...

So, TPC...the early days. I didn't quite hit 3000 hits total that first year (2010). Over the next four years I mainly continued to just post my published writings but then started to add a few additional posts here & there & the pageviews started to grow, though not consistently, because - shocker - I was pretty damn lazy. For example, I had precisely seven posts in 2012; 2014 saw a grand total of four! Prolific, huh? The traffic increased slowly & steadily during this time but was nothing like it'd later become. 

I had a couple of outliers, though. A dedicated page on this site on the John Williams peon murders is by far the most views any post or page at TPC has ever had by a very, very wide margin. Apparently, based on Google results, that piece is one of the top-2 go-to links for folks looking to get information on this dark & sordid tale from the 1920s that happened deep in the heart of the Georgia Piedmont. I've spoken with a grandaughter of one of the Federal agents involved & was contacted once by a filmmaker. Up until 2015, the number one actual post was "A Trip Around the Dawgosphere," compliments of a link by The Senator over at Get The Picture.

Dammit it! Digressing again, sorry 'bout that...

Things truly changed in the Winter of 2015, and I can tell you the exact event that ultimately gave birth to the current incarnation of The Piedmont Chronicles. It was a Newton Co. BOC meeting. In that meeting Wm Thomas Craig was unanimously voted by the Board to serve a 39th year as county attorney. Despite valid objections, the vote was made. Worse yet, Craig, Chairman Keith Ellis, and Commissioners John Douglas & Levie Maddax all decided to "spike the football" & cast shade on one of Newton's best public advocates & one of my heroes, Mr. Larry McSwain. I vividly remember my internal dialogue after that sh!t-show. The concept of what I'd been thinking TPC could be for quite some time was about to become a reality. A local media outlet that asked the tough questions & was looking for the "REAL Story." I knew it was going to happen just like I knew the sky was blue & the sun would rise from the east the next morning...

And the rest, as they say, is history. So you can thank William Thomas Craig, Esq. for where we are today. Thanks, Tommy!

I publicly announced the shift in March of 2015. There would eventually be 60 TPC posts that year, an average of five a month, meeting my goal at the time of averaging at least one post a week. The increased content lead to a heavy increase in traffic, naturally, with the total pageviews of 2015 far outpacing the total views of the first 4 & 1/2 years of the site.

2015 also saw the first Contributing Writer coming on board, our old friend, Ellis "Da" Millsaps. I knew that if TPC was truly going to become what I'd hoped it would be, I would need some help. Our original deal was a total of $10 worth of supplies - a mix of vodka & groceries - per column. It was one of the best investments I've ever made! While I wish Da posted more, I am so grateful that he's part of the team.

Ellis Millsaps - The Man. The Myth. The Legend.

Kayla's Corner - Keeping an Eye on Covington
2016 & 2017 saw amazing, exponential growth in terms of web traffic, and, at least in my opinion, good journalistic reporting while breaking some major stories & effecting positive change in the home city & county.

But 2018 is the year that really raised the bar. The original goal was to average a post a day - 365 for the year. While we will fall a little short of that goal, it has still been such an amazing year for this labor of love!

The biggest positive improvement, no doubt, was expanding our contributing writer staff. 2018 saw Kayla Leasure, Perrin Lovett & Bess Tuggle joining the team, and as I've mentioned before, the sum of these added parts made TPC greater than it could have ever been without it. And I am extremely grateful for that. Incorporating the human-interest stories, local events & national affairs issues has totally taken the page to new heights.

Memoirs of Surviving Children
Bess Tuggle
The CF Floyd Feature Writer of National Affairs
Mr. Perrin Lovett

Also, with these additions, the payroll, as it were, was expanding, so I knew I needed to try to recoup at least a little bit of money for that, not to mention my time & energy, so I decided to add some local advertising to compliment the Adsense ads. So far, the results have been outstanding, and I am so grateful to those local advertisers (see below) who have helped to defray some of the costs associated with this endeavor. Thank you!

So...2019. What does the future hold?

The plan is for 2019 to make 2018 look like 2017! The goal is for a minimum of 500 posts & continuing to the be the ultimate source for the Real Story in Covington, Newton Co. & the Glorious Georgia Piedmont. Look for some changes, additions & a at least a couple of new local advertisers.

It's a very exciting time!

So, thanks again. None of this could happen without you.

Until next time, 

MB McCart

And a Very Special Thanks to our Local Advertisers! 

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