This past week was a busy one for me for anniversaries and
Benita and I celebrated 14 years of marriage, I reached my
41st birthday and CWN became six years old.
is the 'eldest' of my three children. It is also the most
Myfi will be four in September and loves to be the centre of
attention. Ellie is coming up to two in a few weeks and is
beginning to learn to stake her claim.
Both of them can be difficult but they always give so much
joy and happiness in return.
But CWN is different - it is like a baby that can never grow
up. It always does, and always will, need constant care and
And I'm not sure if many people who visit this site really
know what it is.
I know from the hundreds of messages it generates every week
that many visitors certainly think it is something that it
CWN is not:
- part of Coventry City Council - it never has been and
never will be
- a large news organisation with dozens of editorial staff
- part of a large multinational company with unlimited funds
- part of BBC local radio (that was CWR!)
and we are not part of the Odeon cinema nor are we bat
specialists (although more on that one in the next episode).
So if that's what it's not, what then is it? Who runs it, who
funds it, who feeds it and nurtures it.
The simple answer is me - just me. All alone, by myself (with
just a little technical help here and there).
And I do it all in my spare time - my daytime job is running
Coventry Internet Developments Ltd (aka CWN Design / Ecosaurus).
That's the commercial company that earns the money that allows
me to keep CWN going.
That's why, regrettably, I cannot always put a new
competition up immediately the previous one finishes. And why
the cinemas aren't always updated first thing on Friday morning.
And why schoolfriends entries don't always get posted first
You might well ask why I do it.
I've spent many thousands of pounds and even more thousands
of hours keeping it going over the last six years.
A public service without a public purse.
It certainly doesn't earn its keep. We've experimented with
advertising but with very limited success. And we've employed,
at various times, advertising sales people, editorial assistants
and even journalists.
The approximate costs for the last six years speak for
- advertising revenue = £3,000
- running costs (technical and editorial) = £150,000
So why, why, why?
I've enjoyed it. I've met numerous people from all walks of
life and from many parts of the world. I've learnt more than
most about how Coventry works.
And over 100,000 people visit the site every month, who for
the most part seem to appreciate what the site provides.
But is that all - is that enough. Maybe there is something
less measurable and less rational.
Ask any parent. No matter how difficult the child you still
want to do the best you can for it. Dress it smartly, feed it
well and teach it all the right things.
Even it means working all hours and neglecting the rest of
So there it is. CWN lives and breathes, so I must care for
But I do hope one day it will grow up, fly the nest, stand on
its own two feet and leave me in peace.