By Rick Kennedy, managing editor
After nine-and-a-half weeks, local multimedia start-up, SWARK Today, continues reshaping the regional media market, announcing a key benchmark this week, with over 100,000 views on the website, according to Google Analytics.
SWARK Today debuted with the online live streaming of Prescott High School football games, but quickly expanded its scope to local news and current events in mid-September, filling the void when two legacy media and advertising outlets, the Hope Star and Nevada County Picayune closed.
With online live streaming of local events and sports as well as local video reports and replays, SWARK Today has uniquely distinguished itself in the local market as strong multimedia destination for information and advertising.
SWARK Today President Jim Hawley said, “First of all I would like to thank my team of Bren Yocom, Hannah Black, Jesse Evans, Rick Kennedy and Stephen Yates for exceeding my expectations to this point. I thought if we hit 100,000 views by January 1st, 2019 then I would call that a success for a startup news and sports website.”
“Our success would not be possible without our advertisers and we are committed to providing all of our customers with high quality ads and excellent customer service,” he said.
Several national digital and financial sources have frequently cited 100,000 visits per month as a key benchmark for having and maintaining a successful locally-operated commercial website. In a relatively short time of existence, SWARK Today has made tangible strides in establishing itself as a viable and innovative local platform.
“We have live streamed the Prescott Curley Wolves football team this year as they make their run to the state championship. After averaging about 300 to 400 views per Friday night through most of the regular season, we have seen that number grow to over 1,200 viewers for the Clinton playoff game and over 1,400 viewers for the McGehee playoff game last Friday night. We certainly have more plans to add more schools and sporting events in the future,” Hawley said.
An October 22 merger with the former Hempstead Herald strengthened SWARK Today’s presence, and its founder, Jesse Evans, joined two former Hope Star veterans, Managing Editor Rick Kennedy, and Advertising Director Bren Yocom, on the full-time SWARK Today team.
“Our goal from day one was to make sure we provide timely and accurate news reporting as well as providing exposure to our local students whether it be sports, band or any other school activities,” Hawley said.
“And, we recently started live streaming the Hope City Board and Hempstead County Quorum Court meetings with great success and hope to add Nevada County and Clark County in the future,” he said.
The mission statement of SWARK Today as developed by its local management and ownership is:
“We are a multi-platform news media enterprise that delivers local news, sports, and commentary to residents of Hempstead, Nevada and Clark Counties in digital print and video formats. We exist to provide professional journalism, webcasting, and robust live-streaming of current events in Hope, Prescott, Arkadelphia and surrounding areas in Southwest Arkansas.”
“We strive to provide the most relevant, up-to-date, and cutting edge local news and sports presentations through a 100% local management, leadership, and employment structure. We aim to provide a unique and interactive portfolio of advertising products and services that are recognized as the region’s most valuable, innovative, and market-leading web platforms,” as stated on SWARK Today’s website.
By Rick Kennedy, managing editor