It was just over three years ago, in March of 2013, that the idea of starting this website was born. It was a just another Sunday afternoon when I came upon a large building fire that destroyed a candle warehouse in Dunedin. I began to photograph and record a video of the fire and later that day posted it on my personal YouTube account. The posting generated media interest along with that of the first responders that worked the incident that day.
The name IONTB, Eye On Tampa Bay, was created and a logo designed. Originally it was going to be a small site to document a small number of incidents highlighting the tireless work being done by our first responders in the Tampa Bay Area. Photos free of watermarks have always been supplied free of charge to our local first responders and our public safety agencies in the area. It was hopeful that occasionally, video and/or photos could be sold to media outlets in the area. IONTB continues to grow rapidly with now almost 37,000 Facebook followers as of February 2017. IONTB redesigned it website and moved it to a new hosting company in January 2017. On Facebook alone, IONTB has a weekly reach of about 300-350 thousand. The new website is now registering thousands of page views daily.
This site is not a huge operation but rather run by a staff of one with occasional help from a few other bloggers in the area as I do work full-time. It is not unusual to receive large amounts of messages daily and all possible attempts are made to respond in a timely manner. IONTB is currently in the process of bringing on freelance writers to contribute to the website.
It is the contributions of the followers that has allowed the endeavor to flourish. The delivery of news needs to morph into more consumer driven content not content that people are forced to endure which they wait for the 45 second segment somewhere during 6PM broadcast.
This endeavor has proven that most people do not want to wait 3 hours to go home and tune in at 5 or 6 PM to watch the news. Our lives have changed and social media has antiquated the current news delivery method.