Quarter million 'hits' in August 2009... Breathtaking expansion of Substance on line readers

Less than a month after Substance News first hit its millionth on line 'hit' for the year 2009, the new news service of Substance, the monthly Chicago newspaper covering public education, is on target to surpass one quarter million hits in one month as August 2009 draws to a close.

As of end end of the day on August 26, 2009, had 244,178 hits for the month of August 2009. This is the largest number of monthly hits for any month since Substance began formally tracking Internet traffic on the site on January 1, 2009.

The total number of hits for the year 2009 surpassed one million during the first weekend of August 2009, and then the number of hits began increasing by the day. Substance News statistics are tracked by Network Solutions, the oldest and most reliable of the domain naming services. Under the terms of the agreement under which Substance has its domain name registered with Network Solutions, the Substance news service receives daily reports on all aspects on its Web traffic, including total hits (by hour, day, and year), unique visitors, and even which browser is used to access the Web site.

Earlier in the month of August, Substance staff were reminded that under a 1980 U.S. District Court decision (Substitutes United for Better Schools v. Catherine Rohter et. al.) Substance, as a commercial publication, has to be treated the same way by CPS as the Chicago Tribune and Chicago Sun-Times. In 1979 and 1980, officials of the Chicago Board of Education tried to ban the monthly newspaper Substance from the Chicago Public Schools. Following the litigation, the Board of Education was forced to change the rules regarding the distribution and sale of Substance in the schools. With the advent of the Web and widespread Internet use, the same rules apply, according to Substance attorneys. If CPS staff and students are allowed to access The New York Times, Sun-Times and Chicago Tribune via CPS computers, they also must be allowed to access Substance News at

The reiteration of the 1980 First Amendment case won by Substance was necessary after rumors began spreading that the new Internet usage policies being prepared by CEO Ron Huberman would limit access to Substance materials from CPS computers. After a massive overhaul of the on line activities of Substance by Substance Web designed and programmer Daniel Schmidt, the new Substance Web site began formal counting on January 1, 2009. Substance recognizes that the counts are not valid until year-to-year comparisons can be made after January 1, 2010.

Substance continues to publish the monthly newspaper Substance, which enters its 35th year of publication in September 2009. The newspaper Substance went through a re-design over the summer of 2009 in order to adapt it better to the integration of Internet and print publication of news. A one- year (10 issues) subscription to the print edition of Substance is still $16 per year.

Substance staff made the decision to allow "free" access to the Web edition and its daily updates, after reviewing the newspaper industry and deciding that paid access to content that is published on the Internet is annoying to readers are rarely profitable to news providers. Substance readers especially cited the annoying and often frustrating experiences of subscribers to the weekly Education Week, which pretentiously terms itself American education's newspaper of record. Even regular and long time subscribers to Education Week (including this reporter) are often unable to hurdle to complex registration procedures necessary to read Education Week on line. The result is unnecessary frustration. Staff of Substance also point out that Education Week is regularly ready to warn users of their articles of possible copyright violations, while having failed to pay for materials that have appeared in the pages of Substance, a double standard that borders on hypocrisy.

All articles published at Substance News at are original reports from the staff of Substance or our stringers. Unlike a number of other sites that deal regularly with the news of public education, Substance News is not a blog. Readers are allowed to comment about articles published at the Substance site, but the "Comments" section is provided as a reader service on line trailing from each report or analysis.

Substance staff are still focused primarily on providing daily news and analysis of public education topics, centering coverage in Chicago. Advertising is still being worked out and the integration of print and Web advertising is not yet mapped. Potential advertisers are asked to wait until the complete integration of Web and print is completed by October 1, 2009.

In addition to subscribing to the print edition of Substance, readers are also asked to donate to Substance using the convenient "Click Here to Donate" button that appears on the Home Page. Substance is supported completely by staff labor, paid print subscriptions, and donations. Substance does not receive any corporate of foundation funding, and is the only truly independent voice covering public education in Chicago today.

Those who wish to subscribe or donate to Substance on line can do so using Visa or Master Card. Substance does not take Pay Pal or American Express. Substance also takes subscriptions via snail mail: $16 per year by check to: Substance, 5132 W. Berteau, Chicago, IL 60641. 


August 29, 2009 at 4:11 AM

By: George N. Schmidt

Beyond a quarter million in August

As of Thursday, the total hits at SubstanceNews ( hit 261,121 for the month of August 2009 alone, and that number seems to be increasing each day.

I hope that as many people as possible will share their thoughts in "comments" (which you go to by clicking on "comment" in the title area of the story you are reading).

We are going to be even more careful to make sure that every article we post has integrity and accuracy. However, you are free to discuss things in this open forum with as much opinion as you can muster. We're all proud to have opened this door to democracy in Chicago even as the other doors of the media have been shut, hopefully not forever.

It's still amazing to me that the Chicago Tribune and Chicago Sun-Times didn't find any "news" at the August 26, 2009 meeting of the Chicago Board of Education. As we've said before here and elsewhere. The Sun-Times and Tribune were bankrupt long before their lawyers took them into Chapter 11 in the legal bankruptcy court.

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