As of this week, we are three months in to this grand experiment called Argyle Report. As you probably know, the site is a labor of love for myself, founded when I needed a new outlet for Turner's Take and my coverage of Carolina athletics after my contract expired at the end of June. It has grown to become something that I am extremely proud of, a reliable source of information on Carolina athletics, a site that covers the Tar Heels with a depth and breadth unlike any other.
I have been blown away by the talent and dedication of my young writers, editors and photographers, all of whom are volunteers. Just this week, we have exclusive stories on women's soccer, women's basketball, the Davie Poplar incident, volleyball and men's basketball, with more to come. I, Turner Walston, did not write any of them, and I am strangely proud of that. It is thrilling that we have writers on staff who are as passionate about field hockey, cross country and soccer as they are men's basketball and football, and that comes across in their writing.
Additionally, the support from you, the reader, from launch until now has been phenomenal. You constantly stop me at events to ask how the new site is going or to tell me that you like what you've read. You subscribe to Argyle AM, you buy t-shirts and you support us via Patreon. While I continue to look for a full-time job, you have supported me with your tweets, emails, messages and pats on the back. I am grateful for that and don't take it for granted.
We at Argyle Report have learned a lot over the past three months. We know what gets clicks on the site and we also know that we have a duty to cover and write stories that won't be as popular. We continue to learn how to engage with readers on the site, in person and on social media, and we welcome your input.
We are also learning about the simple mechanics of running a site from scratch. We aren't part of a larger network or media organization; it's just us here. We have relied on your Patreon pledges and merchandise sales for site upkeep, travel budget and hosting, and will continue to do so. No one is getting rich, here. If I could make a career of Argyle Report, I would, though as my dad said recently, I'd go broke a long time before that became realistic.
A few weeks ago, we sent out surveys asking for your feedback on the site. In general, you like it and have referred others to the site, enjoy what we're doing and appreciate the look and feel of the site. Me too. I love the way the site looks, and even though I work 'backstage,' I enjoy browsing the site myself.
I don't want Argyle Report to be full of ads. There is something lost when a reader's experience is interrupted with an ad. I don't like the Amazon banner at the top of the page, but it's there. And so we turn to Patreon. I was probably a little bit overzealous in starting the site and making reward tiers on Patreon. You all have been extremely generous, but I think there is a bit of an intimidating barrier to entry when there are tiers ranging from $1 to $1,000. I don't want anyone who chooses to donate to feel like they're missing out.
So . . . we are moving all rewards to the $5 level. For a $5 per month donation, Patrons will receive Become an Argyle Report Patron and receive:
- Exclusive Access to the Argyle Audio Storylines Podcast
- Access to the exclusive Patreon blog
- Your name on the Patron Wall at argylereport.com
- A one-time use discount code for the Argyle Report store
That is a bit of a change from the prior $5 reward tier. Starting December 5, there will be two Argyle Report podcasts: the regular Argyle Audio on Fridays and the new Argyle Audio Storylines podcast on Tuesdays. What will Argyle Audio Storylines entail? I'm not sure yet. Certainly more of the same Turner that you love, but hopefully exclusive audio and interviews, discussion of rumblings in the world of Tar Heel athletics and more. By becoming a Patron, you can subscribe to one podcast feed to receive both shows every week.
Additionally, we have an open thread on Patreon for editor questions on the Patreon blog, for your questions about the site and our opinions on Carolina athletics in general.
We're still just three months in, and again, we are still learning how to interact with and serve our audience. It's very much a process, and we expect to keep learning as fall sports begin postseason play and the winter sports begin to ramp up.
So if you haven't already, please consider becoming a patron. Honestly, it's not really about the rewards, but it's a chance for you to help the growth and life of the site.
Thank you, thank you, thank you for your support, whether you're a patron or not. We can't do this without you, and we wouldn't have it any other way.
Old Well photo by Kimberly Rivers