Courtesy of Moon Golf Club

Site Stuff: A fine start toward 500 new veterans

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The original Morning Java set. - DEJAN KOVACEVIC / DKPS

Each year around this time, one longtime subscriber -- who chooses to stay anonymous -- buys 100 gift subscriptions for veterans. That check arrived this past week, so you'll notice that figure reflected in our daily pool count below.

Suffice it to say, the pool will be set for a while.

But this time, as Matt Sunday and I were discussing on the drive home from Toronto yesterday, we're thinking it might be better to do more than just drop this individual's contribution into the canister. We thought about a way -- and this is something the individual has brought up, too -- to turn it into a challenge.

How about finding 500 new veterans and getting them gift subscriptions before Veterans Day?

Thanks to this individual, as well as the monthly contribution of 10 veteran gift subscriptions from our friends at Moon Golf Club, we're already off to a head start of 110.

What does it mean to find veterans?

Well, plain and simple, we very seldom push or promote the veterans program on the outside. It's here on the site, but it's not something that we regularly put out, say, on social media. That said, if we did do so, and we were able to reach veterans who are Pittsburgh sports fans but might not have heard of our site, we can use this little drive to connect them to their favorite teams.

Veterans Day is Nov. 11, so we'll close this out the day before that. That leaves roughly three weeks. We'll do our part to find the veterans, and the rest will be up to you, if you'd like to contribute to the pool.

If we make it, we make it. If not, even one veteran we find and connect would be worth the effort.

A CHANGING INDUSTRY

People don't like change. They just don't.

We understand that as well as anyone. Like many people, reporters, editors and everyone involved in the business are creatures of habit. It's one of the reasons I have always loved football season. I know exactly what my schedule is going to be from day to day because the Steelers don't often deviate from their schedule, either. Football players, it turns out, are creatures of habit, as well.

But in our business, especially in recent years, changes have been coming fast and furious.

We feel, thanks to our great readers, we've built a strong community here at DKPittsburghSports.com. And it's one that can withstand change because, at its roots, it's all about the community the readers help continue to make strong, as well as the consistent quality of the product itself.

We know we've had some turnover. But believe it or not, that's not at all uncommon in this business.

In 25 years at my previous employer, I worked with dozens of other reporters, just in the sports department. And we were only a five- or six-person staff. Many of those people -- many of them names you all would recognize -- moved on to other things. Some went on to work in other places in the newsroom or for other outlets outside of sports. Still others got out of the business altogether.

We have occasionally become a victim of our success when it comes to people coming and going from the site. Other outlets have found a number of our employees desirable. That's because, in large part, what we do here is pretty cutting-edge. And we're willing to try some things that the people in the stodgy, old newsrooms won't. That makes our people attractive.

It means we're doing a good job. And we won't apologize for that.

Do we like it when people leave?

Nope. No more than our readers do. But it's a natural thing in this business.— Dale Lolley

SPEAKING OF CHANGE ...

We'll soon be freshening up our Morning Java videos, with an emphasis on each episode offering a variety of content as opposed to single-team concepts. And within that, the reporters most associated with those concepts will be the ones doing those segments, which we also think will help the quality.

Expect these to start very soon, likely after Chris Bradford and I get back from the Penguins' Western Canada trip.

On that note, here's hoping you had a chance to check out the silly video Sunday and I did in Toronto:

It's not to be taken too seriously, just tiny snippets of fun from wherever we go on the road, kind of similar to the family stuff we did from Iceland this summer. -- DK

BOOK IN THE WORKS?

Wait, we're producing a book? To be sold at Christmas time?

We'll share soon enough. -- DK

WE'RE LISTENING

• Some readers -- and I was one of them -- experienced these super-annoying ads on the mobile browser version of the site. We spent a couple days trying like crazy to fix it and, when the problem still wouldn't go away, we simply turned off all the ads from the company that was serving them. That obviously hurts the bottom line, but it's worth it. We'll try to address the revenue loss some other way. - DK

• Our new login/alert system is ... not yet there. It was about to get installed by Build In Motion two weeks ago, but unforeseen changes in one of our base platforms delayed the installation. The aim of this fix is to have readers logging in less often, but it's also supposed to dramatically cut down on Android crashes. -- DK

• Can't stress this enough, but use the app. It's where we put almost all of our tech resources, it's got the best version of our Live Feed, and it's free:

itunes googleplay

SEEKING BUSINESS PARTNERS

Currently available for sponsorships: (Some) Steelers, (some) Penguins, Pitt, Duquesne, Penn State, West Virginia, Buried Treasure, Carter's Classroom, Friday Insider, Stats 'N' At, Wilkes-Barre Watch, Wheeling Watch and the DK's Daily Shot podcast. This is our updated media kit for much more detail. If you're interested in connecting with our large, passionate following, email me at Dali@DKPittsburghSports.com. -- Dali

VETS POOL EXPLODES

Our Veterans Gift Subscriptions pool exploded to plus-97 following a Friday in which one was claimed -- Christian, a 23-year vet  from the Navy -- and 101 bought, the subscriber described above plus one more. (Thanks to you both!) If you'd like to contribute, that can happen right here. Overall, our readers have connected 208 military veterans with free subscriptions since the program was restructured in May. And, as ever, anyone who's served in our Armed Forces can request a subscription by filling out this form.

BACK TO BUSINESS

• Subscriptions are at 37,473. That's minus-69 over the past week.

• We had 516,001 page views over the past week. Our most-hit article -- exempting live files -- was DK's Steelers column from Cincinnati at 8,200. The Penguins accounted for 96,722 of our page views, the Steelers 83,086, Pitt 11,698, Penn State 4,298, the Pirates 2,310, the Hounds 1,595, West Virginia 1,536, Duquesne 457.

• We're at 29,207 (-5) page likes on Facebook, we're at 28,905 (+17) followers on Twitter, and we're at 9,014 (+8) followers on Instagram. These figures are just for our official company account on each platform, not for us as individuals.

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