A little over four years ago, I walked into Bill Church’s office with a crazy idea.
Bill was the executive editor at the Herald-Tribune — the top newsroom job. He’s since been promoted to Vice
President of News for the chain that owns this paper.
I explained to Bill that I hadn’t always “pissed civilian water,” that I was a lifelong shooter, and that I wanted to start a gun blog, which I hoped the newspaper would host.
He kicked the idea around for all of about 20 seconds, and then told me to have it up and running by February 10, 2013.
Bill’s like that. When he sees a good idea he doesn’t quibble or prevaricate.
It took a lot of guts — a daily newspaper with its own gun writer. As far as I know, no other paper in the country has replicated the idea.
Back then, I spent about 20 percent of my time on the blog, and the rest on my “day job.” I’m still an investigative reporter at the paper.
Nowadays, I spend a much larger percentage of my time on this site, which never really feels like work.
Over the next four years, our readership grew, thankfully.
We now have readers in all 50 states and scores of foreign countries.
It wasn’t easy, but I had plenty of help.
Mike Lang, the Herald-Tribune’s photo editor, provided incredible pics and videos that really set the standard for the site.
I might have not known what the hell I was doing, but Mike certainly did. He’s a professional photographer, after all. He’s got an impossible task: He makes me look good.
Mike Young, owner of Sarasota’s Young Guns and Safety and co-host of The Gun Writer TV, has been an
invaluable asset and a true friend. Mike was one of the first FFLs to welcome me — a member of the mainstream media — into his gun shop.
Mike’s the real gun expert. I just ask the questions.
Thanks, Mike, and thanks to all the other dealers who followed suit.
About a year ago, Carrie Rasmussen became The Gun Writer’s “brand manager.” When she’s not keeping me out of trouble, she’s also the Herald-Tribune’s marketing director.
Carrie was instrumental in getting this new site launched, which replaced the clunky old blog.
She’s our point person for advertisers, and she also does about a million behind-the-scenes things that keep us in business, like taking all the pics and video for our SHOT Show coverage.
There have been far too many guest columnists, firearms instructors, IT experts, lawyers and advisers to count — all of whom willingly put up with a constant barrage of my questions and special requests.
Today, in addition to this site, we maintain a full suite of social media. We tape The Gun Writer TV web series every week, and I appear every Tuesday on SNN-TV.
None of this would have been possible without you, our readers.
It’s common knowledge throughout the newsroom that we’ve got the best, most loyal, most politically astute, most switched-on readers in the world.
You folks demand a lot, and you don’t tolerate any half measures — nor should you.
It is my honor to write stories for you.
I think about you every single day: What would our readers want to know.
Going forward, we’ve got much more planned, including podcasts, a bigger television presence and a few other surprises.
Thanks for sticking around.