TODD LIHOU - EDITOR: Take a bow Cornwall, our hat is off to you

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Wow. We knew it would be good - but we didn't know it would be this good.

Our February Internet numbers were released to us this week, and our traffic has exploded... thanks to passionate readers like you.

In short, we tripled our numbers from a year ago and led our division for the first time.

We had an inkling things were really picking up when the January numbers showed our website (cornwallseawaynews.com) was just 1,100 hits shy of top spot in our division.

We’re up against newspapers that cover the Ottawa/Gatineau area, as well as parts of Quebec.

In February things got downright nutty with tens of thousands of clicks that, quite frankly, blew us away: our next closest competition, which are newspapers that service that same Ottawa/Gatineau area, are about 27,000 clicks in our rear-view mirror.

Not bad, considering their proximity to Ottawa and plenty of people with access to the Internet and a hunger for local news.

This column isn’t about patting ourselves on the back – it’s about this community and how we all pull together when the chips are down.

In going over the numbers for the last two months (and beyond) it’s clear that the most popular stories we run are items related to helping one another.

A story from last month about a group of local people rallying around Stephanie Grady, a Cornwall mom who is battling cancer, has web stats measured in the tens of thousands.

It’s a similar story for another piece we wrote on Brian Tardiff, whose battle with ALS has only just begun, yet people are lining up by the thousands to read his story – and more importantly look for ways to help him out.

There was another piece last month that detailed a pair of police charges that for some reason spiked our numbers too, but sometimes you just can’t predict these things.

The fact of the matter is the reason our numbers are so strong has very little to do with anything produced in our office on Second Street West – it’s because of all of you.

I want to take this opportunity, on behalf of the people we document, to thank you all for being such faithful readers and for coming back again and again.

Even stories that are quite dated are finding new legs as people use our social media to talk about fellow Cornwallites.

Kim MacLennan, a Cornwall woman desperate for a liver transplant, was featured online and in our newspaper a year ago. I am still getting requests filed on our website from readers, strangers really, who want to be tested to see if their liver would be a match for poor Kim.

Once again, that has nothing to do with us – and everything to do with you.

How many other communities can stand up and say they have residents willing to help out a neighbour, a person they have never met, by way of an invasive surgical procedure that will see a portion of vital human organ removed.

Welcome to Cornwall, ladies and gentlemen – we have blemishes like any other community, but what sets us apart is that we know how to rise above them…and tune out the negativity from the disaffected.

Our promise is to continue telling the stories that matter to our readers, and package them in a format that pleases our many advertisers.

They say the newspaper industry is changing, and they're right. More of a focus is being placed online, and we're pleased to see that our readers are making the switch too.

You're the reason why we're here - and we thank you for your support. In the meantime, please continue to do the things that help others in our community.

We're only a small part of the process, but it's obvious you are willing to do most of the heavy lifting.

Geographic location: Cornwall, Ottawa, Gatineau

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