San Marcos Mercury | Local News from San Marcos and Hays County, Texas
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SHOP TALK by BRAD ROLLINS

By accident or providence — or some alloy of the two — I landed in San Marcos more than a decade ago when my old Ford Taurus laid down on the side of Texas 21 and refused to go any farther.

San Marcos seemed like a pretty cool place to hang out for a while and work as a reporter for the local daily, where I had a applied for a job before the transmission meltdown. I thought I’d be off to the next newspaper in a year or two, three at the most. Eleven years later, I consider San Marcos as much my hometown as Church Hill, the unincorporated rural crossroads in the East Texas woods where I grew up.

We are increasingly a mobile people and have been trending that way for most of the last century. Long gone are the days when Americans would commonly live their entire lives without venturing far from their farm and the nearest town with a store and a church.

Yet people are all the time finding themselves putting down roots where they never intended to. This seems especially true of San Marcos where we tend to love our city with an uncommon intensity. There’s something about San Marcos that insists one stay and see what will happen next.

Since we founded the Mercury in April 2008, the joys have multiplied. Our scrappy little outfit emerged about three years as the city’s single most important news source. In an industry of constant revolution and evolution — as new competitors have come and gone (and sometimes come again) — I’m proud to announce that we’ve maintained that position:

  • During the first half of 2015, more than a quarter-million users — 255,687 to be exact — visited the San Marcos Mercury at least once, a 78.1 percent increase over the same two quarters in 2014 and a 174 percent increase over two years ago.
  • Those users registered 363,811 sessions on the Mercury, an increase of 60.7 percent over the first half of 2014. This is an average of 60,635 visits a month, a number that is itself on the rise. When July wraps up today, our seven-month average will be better than our six-month average.
  • While San Marcos is our focus — and our home — the Mercury has always strived to talk about our city in the context of the region, especially the mid-cities of the Austin-San Antonio corridor. Our audience is increasingly regional in scope, too. The number of poeple who rely on the Mercury is growing not only in San Marcos, Austin and San Antonio but in other cities we use as benchmarks; during the first half of 2015, we attracted sizable audiences in Kyle (11,745 sessions), Wimberley (7,718) and New Braunfels (7,636). Explore the interactive map above to see our readership in every city on the corridor as well as statewide.

Having said all this, I know that the San Marcos Mercury cannot rest on its laurels. Indeed, we have a plan for advancing quality and quantity on a course we hope our audience will help us establish. One week from today, we will launch a comprehensive readership survey through which we will ask the community to be brutally honest about assessing our weaknesses and identifying areas that need improvement.

When I arrived in San Marcos, I was penniless, recent college dropout headed no where in particular. I am lucky to have found a city that welcomes all comers to its eccentric, irreplicable community.

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