The scoop: TucsonCitizen.com revamps, eyes lofty, big-number goals

2010-12-12T00:00:00Z 2010-12-12T17:16:31Z The scoop: TucsonCitizen.com revamps, eyes lofty, big-number goalsPhil Villarreal Phil Villarreal Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star

Corrected version

A shake-up at TucsonCitizen.com caused half the site's work force to resign last week.

"Half the work force," in this case, was only one person: Site administrator and blogger Ryn Gargulinski, who was a columnist at the Tucson Citizen before it closed in May 2009. When the paper shuttered, Gannett relaunched TucsonCitizen.com as a community blogger site, retaining Gargulinski, as well as Mark B. Evans as editor and site administrator.

When job responsibilities changed, she chose to resign, Evans said.

Replacing Gargulinski on staff is Anthony Gimino, a former Star and Citizen sports reporter who has worked for the site since September 2009 thanks to a grant from American University's J-Lab project. The grant's funding expires at the end of the year, and Gimino becomes a full-time TucsonCitizen.com employee Jan. 3. Gimino will take on minor administrative duties as well as oversee the sports blogging network.

Gimino had already agreed to start working part-time when Gargulinski resigned, so Evans was able to bump Gimino up to full-time and will hire a part-timer to focus on administrative tasks - including social networking - instead.

Meanwhile, the site appears to be thriving. Evans said TucsonCitizen.com, which uses content from about 65 unpaid bloggers, had 520,000 unique visitors and 1 million page views in November, bettering the site's monthly average of 400,000 monthly unique visitors in 2008 and the portion of 2009 before the print edition stopped publishing.

Evans hopes the part-time social media coordinator will help grow those numbers, with a lofty goal of 5 million monthly page views by the end of next year. Evans says that if he reaches that goal, he may be able to hire more people and pay his bloggers through a profit-sharing system.

Contact reporter Phil Villarreal, who covers local media for the Star, at 573-4130 or pvillarreal@azstarnet.com

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