by Karl Kurtz
Happy (belated) birthday to us! The Thicket went public on May 15, 2006. We're pleased, and mildly surprised, that we're still in business. We're not one of the big guys among blogs, but in our quiet niche, "by and for legislative junkies," we have lots of loyal readers. Our beat has consistently been the practice of representative democracy, the legislative institution and state elections and politics--with a few podcasts on policy issues thrown in.
Over our 5-year history there have been 431,376 pageviews of The Thicket (compared to 1 mill. per day for Politico). In the last year, 65,000 different people visited The Thicket 75,000 times. 92 percent of our visitors are from the United States. The distribution of readers among the states is approximately proportional to state population, except that Colorado and the District of Columbia--the homes of NCSL's two offices, rank second and third in visitors behind California.
We have also had readers from 150 other countries during the last year, led by the English speaking countries of Canada, UK, Australia and India. For some unknown reason, Venezuelans have made the largest number of visits from non-English speaking countries.
We've posted 1,240 items in our history. That's about four per week--our goal when we set out on this venture. We wish we could post more frequently, but all of our writers have other jobs to do at NCSL. The top 5 most viewed posts in the last year were:
- Peggy Kerns' classic Sept. 2009 "Movies about Ethical Dilemmas"
- Tim Storey's post-2010 state legislative election wrapup reporting on historic Republican gains
- "Legislative Walkouts are Nothing New" in the middle of the Wisconsin and Indiana legislative controversies this spring
- "Fire Alarms and Police Patrols: Two Approaches to Legislative Oversight" from Oct. 2009
- "An Expert's Favorite Filibuster: Rhode Island Senate in 1923-24," another walkout related story.
Thanks to all of our readers! Our best stories often come from your suggestions. Keep those ideas--and your thoughts and comments on The Thicket--coming.