Opinion: Reflections on Muncie Journal Turning 3 Years Old Today

This is a picture Dale Pickett took of me, while I was taking a similar picture of him! Photo by: Dale Pickett PhotographyThis is a picture Dale Pickett took of me, while I was taking a similar picture of him! Photo by: Dale Pickett Photography

By: Mike Rhodes, Publisher and Managing Editor, MuncieJournal.com—

Muncie, IN—It’s official. Today is Muncie Journal’s 3rd birthday. Or anniversary. Wow. Where did the time go? (That can be answered by the photos that appear at the bottom of this story.)

Three years ago today, I got up at 4:30 am, and with a queasy, nauseous feeling in my gut, took a deep breath and approached my computer. Specifically, my computer’s mouse. I stared at that mouse for a while, then slowly…ever so slowly… put my jittery index finger on it, said a prayer, and then…

Clicked it.

2 seconds later, Muncie Journal was live.  “Wow,” I thought. “Take a look at that! It works! It’s up!”

So on July 1, 2015, Woof Boom Radio and our founding partners launched MuncieJournal.com.

We are very grateful to our original founding partners:

The Muncie Auto Group
First Merchants Bank
The George and Frances Ball Foundation in collaboration with:
The Muncie-Delaware County Economic Development Alliance
IU Health Ball Memorial Hospital
Ontario Systems

We are also very grateful for our sustaining sponsors since launch: Muncie Downtown Development Partnership, Beasley & Gilkison Attorneys at Law, The Innovation Connector, The Horizon Convention Center, MITS and Clean Cut Lawn & Landscape.

On the first day of our launch, it was exhilarating to watch the initial views rack up. The views dribbled in—first 1 view, then 25, then 234, then 700+. Facebook was humming with comments about it. Comments like, “Hey, did you see that new online newspaper thingie Muncie Journal? Good news is what Muncie needs!” And, “Kudos to all the folks behind this. Looking forward to all the good news.”

It was a memorable day.

The Muncie Journal’s mission has always been to include the good things that are happening with businesses and non-profits within Delaware County. We have always primarily focused on three areas: (1) Education (2) Economic Development (3) Quality of Life in Muncie and Delaware County. The key phrase is “Muncie and Delaware County.”

Click on the photo above to read Mayor Tyler's proclamation naming July 1, 2018 "Muncie Journal Day."

Click on the photo above to read Muncie Mayor Dennis Tyler’s proclamation naming July 1, 2018 “Muncie Journal Day.”

Even though we only publish articles that are Muncie and Delaware County related, I am continually amazed at how far our reach is. Our top cities with the most viewing activity include: Muncie, Indianapolis, Fishers, Carmel, Chicago, Anderson, Yorktown, Louisville, Fort Wayne, and NYC among others.

You never know where MJ viewers will come from.

One day I was asked by a plastic surgeon in Beverly Hills, CA to post a story about his new “Get a nose job over lunch” initiative.

Companies outside our county such as: The Dayton School of Law, GEEmap, College Goal Sunday, Purdue University Board of Trustees, Amplified Film, Logansport Brewing Club, Gerry Dick & Inside Indiana Business, Racer Trust, CPA Society, Lions International, 1 Million Cups, American Red Cross, Second Helpings, Tee Talent, Inc., JCPenney News, and many, many others, too numerous to count, have all shared Tweets, links or Facebook posts of MJ articles.

Early last year, I remember getting a phone call out-of-the-blue from a woman executive in Florida. She asked, “Are you with the Muncie Journal?” I said, “Yes.” She went on to absolutely “fill a book” with positive remarks about Muncie Journal.com. She said she had never seen anything like it and that her company was very community-minded. She said the MJ site was very helpful to her.  Why? Her company was investigating opening a facility in Muncie. She was doing research on the community and found online articles from Muncie Journal. I’ll never forget that phone call. The company DID move here and brought a significant number of jobs for local residents.

In 2016, I remember running a story about Fresh Thyme Market coming to Muncie. That story took off like a rocket and is still the most viewed story we’ve ever published. By far. Our article about the new Pete’s Bar & Grill in Albany had over 1,200 social media shares in just 24 hours. There have been many other articles with special memories for me—simply too many to mention.

Even though I have lived in Muncie since I graduated from Ball State University with a degree in Journalism, I have learned SO much about our community through my Muncie Journal work. Our local foundations like the Ball Brothers Foundation, Community Foundation and others pump millions of dollars into our community every year and also support our local high school seniors with scholarships. I knew of these organizations, of course, but I did NOT realize the depth and breadth of their impact on Muncie and Delaware County.

Muncie is a caring and giving, philanthropically oriented community. Take a look at some of the community fundraising goals this past year—United Way: Goal met and exceeded; Youth Opportunity Center: Goal met and exceeded; Boys & Girls Club of Muncie: Set fundraising record for “Great Futures” luncheon. The people of Muncie are just an amazing, kind, and dedicated group of people.

Group photo of Muncie Journal contributors taken in 2016

Group photo of Muncie Journal contributors taken in 2016. Click photo for larger view. Photo by: Mike Rhodes

On this special day, I would like to take this opportunity to thank the hundreds of Muncie Journal contributors who truly make this site something special to visit on a daily basis. Without their content submissions and suggestions, we simply would not be successful.  Last year, Muncie Journal grew 30% in viewership. And we continue to grow as more and more people find us and share our articles on social media and even on their own websites. Plus, our content is FREE to view by anyone.

I would be remiss if I did not take this opportunity to sincerely thank Woof Boom Radio, LLC owner, J Chapman and Director of Sales, Sue Tschuor, for allowing me the opportunity to try to make this product the best it can absolutely be.  It has been a wonderful experience for me on a personal and professional level. Thanks go to my wife, Sharon, too. I’ve often arrived home to her cheerful, “I’m glad your home!” greeting, even as I all too frequently responded to her, “I need to get an MJ article up right now.”

Below you’ll find a brief auto-running slideshow of some of the pictures we’ve published since our launch on July 1, 2015  that have accompanied our articles.  As you may know, from day one, we’ve required a photo to accompany every single story we run. No exceptions. And we’ve stuck with that requirement. I think the pictures provide a fast review of the many, many good things that happen in Muncie and Delaware County. (We’ve published thousands of articles. The pictures below represent a very brief representation of some of our content since launch.)

Thank you for being a MuncieJournal.com viewer, contributor, founding partner, advertiser, and hopefully, fan.

We appreciate you! Together, let’s keep shining a light!



The pictures/story headlines below are best viewed on a laptop, desktop PC or tablet.

Ribbon cutting at the opening of the 'Sephora Inside JCPenney' at the Muncie Mall. Photo by: Mike RhodesFrom left to right: Khamasi Muhiga, Riley Ray, Athletic Director Suzanne Crump (back center), Jamel Barnes (front center), Trenton Hatfield, and Quentin Thompson.The City of Muncie Parks Department will have all kinds of fun activities for kids this summer.Early shoppers are pictured outside the new Fresh Thyme Farmers Market at 7am, May 17th. Photo by: Mike RhodesJohn Carlson was all smiles after White Castle sent the entire team White Castle gift packs. Photo by Mike RhodesResults of the 2017 United Way Campaign are unveiled as members of the campaign team take the stage at Cornerstone. Photo by: Mike RhodesMutualBank branch. File photoMayor Dennis Tyler is pictured with Terry Miles, who authored the book, "The Shot Heard Around The Town." Mayor Tyler named Terry an Honorary Deputy Mayor of the City of Muncie. Photo by: Mike RhodesMuncie, IN. Photo by: Mike RhodesCommunity Foundation Scholars: Anna Beach, Grace Belangee, Indira Brown, Skylar Cassity, Arianna Dollinger, Lily Fillwalk (top row); Faith Flick, Lucas Henson, Alexander Herbst, Bryn Marlow, Brock McCoy, Emma-Mae Newman (middle row); Javier Onate, Cade Orchard, Hannah Quirk, Michelle Scanameo, Astra Sisson, Korbin Zvokel (bottom row)By: graphicstockKelly Stanley, 2018 recipient of the Muncie-Delaware County Chamber of Commerce Legacy Award.Dale Basham is pictured at the podium making remarks after receiving the Edmund F. Ball Lifetime Achievement Award in 2018. Photo by: Mike Rhodes(L-R) Josh Shaffer, Phil Peterson and Caleb Churchill are pictured during the soft opening on March 29th. Photo by: Mike RhodesSteve Bell is pictured during a Muncie Journal interview in 2017. Photo by: Mike RhodesTeam Indiana in the WLBC Master Command Studio. Photo: Mike Rhodes(L-R) Jud Fisher and John Craddock are pictured. John was awarded the Fisher Governance Award in 2017. Photo provided.Jack Buckles, recipient of the Muncie-Delaware County Chamber of Commerce 2017 Legacy Award. Photo by: Kyle EvensBotsford/Swinford Halls. Photo: Ball State UniversityHome of CSL Plasma at 1321 S. Madison. Photo by: Mike RhodesMuncie Central Senior Charlie Murphy has earned 137 merit badges—every single one offered by the Boy Scout program.BY5 Executive Director Carrie Bale and Tom Kinghorn, BY5 Chairman of the Board are pictured. Photo provided.Photo by: Amanda Kishel with Alex Oeschel & Austin MarchinoA young girl learns ballet at Cornerstone Center for the Arts. Photo provided.Woof Boom Radio initiates community project titled: "Project Poinsettia." Photo illustration by: Mike RhodesBall Brothers Foundation's board includes 3rd and 4th generation family members as well as non-family community members. This photo was taken in May 2017 in Muncie and included board members, BBF staff, and Associate Directors (next generation Ball family members who were learning more about BBF.) Photo providedRenae Conley (L) Vice Chair, Board of Trustees and Richard Hall (R), Chair, Board of Trustees present the University Medallion to Geoffrey S. Mearns,(C) Ball State's 17th President. Photo by: Mike RhodesDannar's booth at the 2017 Green California Summit and Expo. Photo provided.Pictured from left to right: Megan Quirk, Mark Flodder, Mayor Dennis Tyler, Jacqueline Hanoman, Jud Fisher. Photo by: Mike RhodesArtist rendering of Kitselman trailhead and Kitselman Pure Energy Park.Chris Caldwell, senior vice president for commercial banking at MutualBank.Photo courtesy of US News & World ReportMCS Board Members. Back row,(L-R) Brittany Bales, James Williams, Keith O'Neal. Front row, (L-R) Dave Heeter, WaTasha Barnes Griffin, James Lowe. Not pictured: Mark Ervin. File photo(L-R) Lindsay Huffman and Liz Valpatic are pictured with the flowers they collected during Flower Hour. Photo by: Mike RhodesMuncie Resident Trevor Dillard. Photo provided.Ball State's new branding campaign launched on November 6th.Shadows of the 60'sMSO Super Conductor Contest Candidate Couples. Photo by: Mike RhodesDonna Corder. Photo provided.IU Health Ball Memorial Hospital. Photo by: Mike RhodesJeff Bird, MD, has been named the new president of the East Central Region for IU Health which includes IU Health Ball Memorial and Blackford hospitals.Photo by: AMAJanet Holcomb, Indiana's First Lady answers questions during a panel discussion with Jud Fisher and Jeff Daniels during the Muncie-Delaware County Economic Development Alliance introduction of the Vision 2021 economic development plan. Photo by: Mike RhodesGrace Hollars, Ball State '19, examines her camera while participating in the university's immersive learning experience BSU at the Games in Rio in 2016. Hollars is returning to the Olympics through BSU at the Games this winter to cover the 2018 Games in South Korea. Photo providedWhat ruins a fun day at the beach? Sharks! Professional graphic by: John CarlsonThe Big Pitch competition is coming up! Photo provided.The new grocery carts available for use on MITS buses are pictured. Photo provided.A few of the storytellers and writers from Facing LGBTQ+ Pride. Photo provided.Photo by: Robbie MehlingThe Elm Street Brewery will have their grand opening this Friday. Photo provided.Pictured L-R: Betty Brewer, President and CEO of the Minnetrista Cultural Center and Chase Winkle, MPD patrolman prior to Betty's ride along on August 2nd. Photo by: Mike RhodesMuncie Journal articles on BSU News siteDarnell Hillman. Photo by: Berwyn StudiosOfficer Quintin Cooper is pictured delivering Christmas gifts to local children, Thursday afternoon. Officer Cooper used play football for the Ball State Cardinals. Photo by: Mike RhodesSteve Brown celebrated 50 years behind the microphone this morning. Photo by: Mike RhodesMatt Bloom and Pat McCrory. Photo provided.Volunteers from Lowe's have a brief meeting before starting their work on June 22nd at the Boys & Girls Club of Muncie. Photo by: Mike RhodesJohn Jones Auto Group from Greenville, IN was one of the exhibitors at the ISA Expo. Photo by: Mike RhodesClydesdales at Scheumann StadiumErin Sellers, General Manager of the Red Lobster in Muncie, is pictured with her Lighthouse Club Award. Photo provided.Olive & Slate storefront at 304 S. Walnut Street. Opening April 14th. Photo by: Mike RhodesThe Hayloft Boutique located at 200 S. Walnut Street in downtown Muncie.The open and airy lobby just inside the entrance of Silver Birch of Muncie. Photo by: Mike RhodesPictured L-R: Dave Arland, Executive Director of the Indiana Broadcasters Association; Steve Lindell, Vice- President and Director of Operations, Woof Boom Radio LLC; Simon Hoying, WLBC on-air personality; J Chapman, President, Woof Boom Radio, LLC.First Merchants CorporationOntario Systems "Best Places to Work" awards from 2015 and 2016 are pictured. Photo by: Mike Rhodes"The Song" is a television program that will premiere in the Fall of 2016. Illustration by: Mike Rhodes


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