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Two big announcements: Book deal and Twitchy.com deal

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By Michelle Malkin  •  December 10, 2013 03:41 PM

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The amazing Twitchy.com family (from L to R: Sarah, Jenn, Lori, William, Jesse, Doug, and Brett)

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With fellow history/tinkerer nerd, Glenn Beck

It’s been a hectic couple of months at Casa Malkin! As many of you have noticed, I’ve been absent from the TV airwaves since the summer. That’s because I’ve been immersed in research for my next book, which I announced today on Glenn Beck’s radio show. It’s something completely different from anything I’ve published previously. The working title is “Who Built That” and the topic is America’s unsung tinker-preneuers. I’ve been indulging my inner geek big time and loved chatting with Glenn this morning about his must-read/must-buy/must-share new book, Miracles and Massacres, which features a riveting chapter on George Westinghouse, Nikola Tesla, and Thomas Edison and dovetails perfectly with the themes of my project. You can read more about our discussion here. I’m grateful to Glenn, Kevin Balfe, and Mercury Ink for partnering with me on this super-cool endeavor and next great adventure.

Big announcement #2: I am extremely proud to announce the sale of Twitchy.com to Salem Communications.

On March 7, 2012, I launched Twitchy with great anticipation and excitement. It’s hard to believe that a little more than a year ago, we were greeted with a great deal of befuddlement and amusement. Many observers couldn’t figure out why Twitchy.com was needed, what exactly it did, and who our audience was. Fast-forward: “Twitchy’d” has become a verb and every last media outlet – new and old – is elbowing its way into the Twitter curation/aggregation space.

As we noted on our first birthday this spring:

Twitter users publish something like half a billion tweets per day. Even if 99.999 percent of those tweets are unimportant or nonsense, that leaves 5,000 tweets per day that are potentially newsworthy, or at least noteworthy.

Our mission is to find those hidden nuggets and report on them to you, our readers.

We’ve been at it for a year as of today. Has our Twitter-based news-gathering model proven a success?

We believe our record speaks for itself:

We documented tweets and retweets by dozens of left-wing Hollywood cranks, including Cher, Alec Baldwin, Jim Carrey, Russell Crowe, Chris Rock, Jason Biggs, Samuel Jackson, Ellen Barkin, Eva Longoria, and Eliza Dushku.

We were among the first to uncover Twitter riot threats and vandalism by Obama supporters in the run-up to Election Day…

We broke a story about Twitter death threats made against Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker — a story that led to an investigation by law-enforcement authorities.

We caught mainstream media outlets lying about the Newtown, Conn., so-called “hecklers” and the health insurance situation of the former Navy SEAL who shot Osama bin Laden.

We were the first to report details about Aurora, Colo., shooting victim Jessica Ghawi, who was tweeting just before she was shot and was present at a separate mall shooting six weeks earlier.

Utilizing tweets, photos, and videos posted to Twitter, we were able to cover breaking news — from school shootings in the US to protests in Egypt to an NFL’s player’s homicide-suicide — faster (and in some cases better) than MSM outlets.

MSM dinosaurs consider our methods irresponsible. They insist that “real reporters” must wait around for government officials to confirm facts that are already widely known to anyone using Twitter.

Sorry, MSM, we don’t follow your rules. We have created a news model that allows people to read information that gatekeepers don’t want them to know. Our motto is “who said what.” Their motto is “which official source said what, and we’ll let you know when we’re good and ready.”

…Twitchy couldn’t be what it is without you: the community of readers, commenters, and tipsters who come to the site every day; the Twitter users who retweet our posts; the Facebook users who “like” and “share” our articles.

Thanks so much to all of you for making our first year a phenomenal success.

In a little more than a year and a half, Twitchy has grown from less than 2 million page views per month to more than 12 million. We’ve established a strong footprint both traffic-wise and editorially in an astonishingly short time. Twitter as a news-gathering and narrative-shaping medium is here to stay. And so is Twitchy.

As with Hot Air, I conceived and financed Twitchy completely on my own. But as a small, independent business owner, there’s only so far I can take the company. Salem’s mighty resources and corporate know-how will enable Twitchy to grow by leaps and bounds. Salem is a trusted enterprise and business partner with the highest standards of ethics and excellence. We know from our experience with the 2010 Hot Air acquisition that Salem understands the value of our brand, will preserve everything that makes Twitchy click, and will provide a great home for our employees. I’ll step down as CEO, but will continue to play an active role supporting and promoting Twitchy. It’s a win-win-win. Big thanks to Salem’s David Evans, Rick Killingsworth, and Jonathan Garthwaite for working with us again.

I’m forever grateful to all the initial staffers who were with me at launch. Your leaps of faith will never be forgotten. Like any start-up, we had our growing pains as we figured out how best to execute my vision. A huge turning point: Twitchy was blessed to hire Jenn Taylor and Lori Ziganto as co-managing editors. They are the funny, fearless, brilliant, and indefatigable dynamos who keep Twitchy running. I can’t say enough about Jenn and Lori’s political brilliance, editorial commitment, work ethic, impeccable judgment, and new media savvy. They set the crackling pace and irreverent tone for the rest of the full-time Twitchy team, whom I’ve come to know and respect as more than colleagues — but as family: editors Sarah Desprat, Brett Taylor, and Doug Powers (who continues to co-blog spectacularly here at MichelleMalkin.com as well as at Twitchy) and contributing editor William Amos. Much gratitude as well to contributing editors Jacob Bunn, Erik Soderstrom, and El Sooper and big thanks to Adam Brickley for his tenure as a contributing editor.

It takes one mind to think up a start-up, but it requires a village to execute. I’m grateful to the folks at 10up, WordPress VIP, Disqus, and Publir for their services, as well as lawyer Eric Costello for his work on the deal. We’re also grateful to Twitter staff, especially Adam Sharp and Sean Evins, for providing support and guidance as needed. Thanks again to tech guru Ed Burns for his invaluable help on our Apps. And as always, a big public thank you to my hubby, Jesse, who knew nothing about Twitter when I told him about my idea — but who threw himself into supporting me 200 percent as he always has with my entrepreneurial ventures. As with Hot Air, Jesse served as Twitchy’s human resources manager, payroll clerk, accountant, tech liaison, and CFO.

The lessons I learned from running Hot Air apply as well to Twitchy:

To survive, we needed to adapt, respond to market forces, and adjust the business focus to meet readers’ revealed preferences.

Loyalty is a precious commodity. So is industry. Like gold, they have many imitators. Never take the real things for granted.

Carpe diem quam minimum credula postero. ( “Seize the day, counting as little as possible on tomorrow.”)

Every good hot air balloon needs strong anchor ropes. The pilots may get all the glory, but it’s the hidden support that makes all the difference between successful flight and crash-and-burn.

Over the past 20-plus years, I’ve been blessed to make a living on my words, ideas, bits, and bytes. Capitalism and the American Dream are more than theories for me, but everyday realities. I cherish the opportunity to do good and do well — and to do so alongside so many talented, creative, passionate people. On to 2014!

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