The current issue of Newcity marks twenty-nine years for us. Whew. Youâ€™ll note that weâ€™ve undertaken a global theme with this issue. While itâ€™s a package of stories (and a poem!) weâ€™re especially proud of, thereâ€™s a little bit more at work here, as weâ€™re this week launching Newcity Brazil, and thought it a good time to put our â€œmouthâ€ where our money was.
But first, an update on our progress in our core undertakings. After one of our best years ever in 2013, we posted another ten percent in revenue growth in 2014, fueled by substantial gains in our digital advertising and custom publishing businesses. Print advertising grew as well, but by a modest amount. In these times, weâ€™re just happy to be able to say â€œprintâ€ and â€œgrowthâ€ in the same sentence.
As much as we love the new digital arena, we still believe very much in the quality and unique character of print. Last fall, we explored this theme in detail at the Arts Club, in a talk about â€œThe Case for Print,â€ which you can read here.
Having settled on a new format for Newcity print at the beginning of the year, and now with a twice-a-month print publishing schedule, weâ€™re accentuating our efforts to fulfill our stated mission to be the publication of record for Chicago culture. This includes a continuing expansion of our editorial ranks in each cultural sector along with a concurrent expansion of space for features and reviews, as well as a continuing effort to bring our Leaders of Chicago Culture issues (the â€œ50â€ lists) to even higher levels of breadth and quality.
Though weâ€™re proud of the quality, depth and breadth of our coverage, in terms of features and reviews, we believe thereâ€™s one more piece to the puzzle as we work to achieve our mission. And thatâ€™s the reporting of cultural news, from major breaking stories to the behind-the-scenes details that too often gone entirely unnoticed. And so weâ€™re in the process of rolling out news reporting on our various web sites. Weâ€™re already up and running with dispatches from the visual art culture, at NewcityArt.com, and are working to expand them across our network this spring.
Our Newcity Hearts Arts program continued to donate substantial media support to arts fundraisers, with nine organizations, including Kartemquin Films, Arts Alliance Illinois and Audience Architects, receiving our support last year. Please seek us out if you have an arts fundraising event and youâ€™d like to raise its profile.
This week, Newcity Brazil published its first story at NewcityBrazil.com. You can read more about the project at the web site, but know that it is part intellectual exercise, part entrepreneurship and part the kind of crazy thatâ€™s fueled the Newcity story since its inception.
Speaking of crazy, as you know, we announced our plans to make a feature film a year ago. While we are not ready to announce anything quite yet, we are in active rights negotiations on a couple of projects, and continue to review scripts.
Next year, weâ€™ll mark our thirtieth anniversary, a milestone unimaginable when we started. Between now and then, we plan to make this year one of of continuing redesign and reinvention, as we remain committed to always putting the â€œnewâ€ in Newcity. Thank you for your continuing interest and support. Without our partners and many contributors, we would not have lasted even thirty days.
â€”Brian & Jan Hieggelke