“What’s Noozhawk?”

That question was posed to me recently by a woman whom I had just met at an event in Santa Barbara.

I have to admit I was taken a bit by surprise — not because I’m vain enough to think that everyone knows about Noozhawk, but because that’s not the response I typically get when I tell someone I work for Santa Barbara County’s only full-time, online news source.

More typically, when I say that, the response is, “Oh, Noozhawk. That’s great. I get your email every morning.”

I began this gig in the spring, after the management of the newspaper I worked for in the North County decided they didn’t need an editor. While that was shocking for me on a personal level, it’s unfortunately not a very rare occurrence these days in the newspaper business.

And while no one likes to get fired, I couldn’t be happier. I was happy to have that door closed, because I’m thrilled about the door that opened.

Most newspapers today seem to spend most of their energy trying not to disappear. I can tell you from personal experience that it’s a demoralizing existence.

In contrast, what’s so exciting to me about Noozhawk is the remarkable trajectory we are following in terms of readership and web traffic — and the ability to truly connect with and serve the community.

Our year-over-year comparisons consistently are showing tremendous growth — 35 percent to 40 percent — in visitors and page views. And in the last three months, we have seen some of the best traffic in our 4½-year history.

So while most newspapers spend every day trying not to die, the Noozhawk team spends every day mapping out a very bright future.

But back to the question: What is Noozhawk?

Simply put, it’s an online-only, nearly 24/7 news source for the greater Santa Barbara area. We offer a fairly unique combination of high-quality journalism and valuable, contributed content.

My friend and boss, Bill Macfadyen, puts it quite succinctly: “We give our readers the content they want.”

One interesting aspect about Noozhawk is the number of people who receive our e-Bulletin each morning — about 8,000 at last count. Even more amazing is the fact that more than a third of recipients open that email every day, which is an astounding “open rate” in the email newsletter world.

Ironically, one of our frustrations is that a significant number of our readers think the e-Bulletin IS Noozhawk. As good as it often is, it’s not.

Rather, the e-Bulletin is simply a sampler of the content we publish on our website each day.

If you aren’t going to our website — www.noozhawk.com — you are seeing only a fraction of the quality content we provide each day. You’re nibbling on the appetizers but missing the main course.

There are other ways to keep up with us as well. You can “like” us on Facebook, and you can follow us on Twitter: @noozhawk.

Every time we post new stories on our website, we post an update on Facebook and tweet it on Twitter. It’s a great way to keep current with the news.

I also invite you to follow me personally on Twitter: @tombol. I tweet our breaking news throughout the day, and add a few other observations as well.

So what is Noozhawk?

I hope you’ll take the time to really find out the answer to that question, and let me know what you think.

Noozhawk executive editor Tom Bolton can be reached at tbolton@noozhawk.com. Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

Light-haired man with mustache smiling

Tom Bolton, Noozhawk Executive Editor

Noozhawk executive editor Tom Bolton can be reached at tbolton@noozhawk.com.