As in, tomorrow morning. That’s when we take a major step in the development of this site and launch Hayride Texas, which will be a very similar operation to the one our readers have been enjoying for the past seven-plus years as we’ve offered news and commentary on Louisiana occurrences from a conservative viewpoint.
Tomorrow will be the culmination, of sorts, of about six months’ worth of preparations. We knew that with this year being an off-year for major elections for us to cover, we needed to make some moves to develop The Hayride into an entity with a larger scope, and it was time to begin acting on an idea we’d had virtually since the beginning – expand our business model outside of Louisiana and into, ultimately, all the southern states.
We’ve never wanted to be a “national” site, though many if not most of our writers have homes to write about national affairs – I write a column at The American Spectator, Kevin Boyd writes at Faves USA and is a veteran of Rare and IJ Review, and Joe Cunningham writes at RedState, for example. We do some national stuff here, as you’ve no doubt seen. But a website based in Baton Rouge, Louisiana can’t make much of a claim of authority in discussing things happening in Washington, DC. So that’s not us.
What we noticed after some research, though, is the best option for expansion is what we’re already doing – primarily offering a conservative counterpoint in discussing state and local affairs opposite the predominantly left-leaning major newspapers and other media. As Louisiana is a media desert for conservatives, so are lots of other states – and right next door in Texas there’s a much more arid political climate for our side than we would have ever expected.
Moreover, between one-fifth and one-quarter of The Hayride’s audience is already in Texas. Lots of you are Louisiana expatriates keeping an eye on happenings back home, and we appreciate your interest in us more than we can say. We hope your patronage will only increase as we bring you similar coverage of your current surroundings to that you’ve been reading about back here.
So in May we hired Zach Cronan, a committed young conservative activist with an attractive writing style, and we’ve been collecting a roster of terrific writers with lots of knowledge of Texas politics and a passion for liberty ever since. You’ll meet some of them tomorrow as they make their debuts as Hayride Texas bursts into life.
If you’re in Louisiana you probably won’t notice much of a change. The content the site displays to you will continue to be Louisiana-centric. When we redesigned The Hayride in April, one of the features we built in was a bit of geotargeting of our content. If you’re in Texas, the majority of the content you’ll see on the front page will be from Texas. If you’re in a different state, the site will feature our national content. If you’d like to look in on other states, and eventually there will be lots of them, you can go to the menu at the top and click on one of the News Regions you see; the results will be as you desire.
As Hayride Texas takes off, we’ll begin exploring the next target for our regional expansion. But that’s another discussion for another time. For now, get ready, Texas, because here we come!