Michael Gold, Founder
Historic City News
Twenty-three years ago today, March 18, 2000, I registered the HistoricCity.com domain name and began writing and publishing what was considered unconventional at the time – a completely online version of a local community news journal with extensive photo galleries.
As residents were still in search of ways to use the Internet for some productive purpose and dial-up access through a local Internet Service Provider was still common, Historic City News was a leader that caught printed newspapers like the St Augustine Record asleep at the wheel. They continued to cling to antiquated ink-and-paper printing until the locally owned newspaper was sold (twice) and eventually found itself in the US Bankruptcy Court seeking protection from its creditors.
With a niche audience from the local business community, several of whom were represented on our Editorial Board, and a mission to hold public officials accountable to the public, I trudged on in a venture that a lot of influential people said was doomed to fail. Little did they reckon that our model would become the template for news reporting in the span of two decades.
I used a lot of old-fashioned ideas in creating the plan for our publication while taking pride in remaining open to trying the latest technology. I stayed out of debt and was successful in keeping office expenses and paid staff to a minimum. I was also blessed over the years with an army of volunteer photojournalists, writers, and others interested in contributing their time and talents to make this new adventure a winner.
Three years ago, I arranged to turn over the operation of our family’s privately-owned business to the local non-profit Ladies Memorial Association of St Augustine Inc which continues to benefit from the paid local and national advertising that appears on our pages. In the twenty years Historic City Companies Inc published Historic City News, we never charged our readers a subscription fee. That policy continues to this day because I find it unfair to charge readers to see the display advertising that was paid for by our generous sponsors.
We have reported on some great accomplishments in the past 23 years, political victories, and improvements in the way our local government remains accountable. We have also reported on more than a few miscarriages of justice, mourned the loss of too many good friends, and generally ridden the rollercoaster that life has delivered. Thanks for taking the ride with us. I only get to write one more of these annual updates before we celebrate our 25th Anniversary Edition. That will be a day that I continue to look forward to with great eagerness.