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Atlantic Media’s Defense One Celebrates One-Year Anniversary Since Launch

birthday2Defense One celebrated its one-year anniversary this week and executive editor Kevin Baron highlighted in an internal memo late Thursday its rapid growth, events and breaking-news coverage over the past year.

In just one year, the Atlantic Media defense and national security brand has experienced record monthly traffic of 800,000 page views and nearly 600,000 unique visitors, doubled its staff from three to six, and secured Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel to headline its Defense One Summit, which will return this November.

Click through for the full memo, after the jump.

From: Kevin Baron
Date: Thu, Jul 17, 2014 at 4:20 PM
Subject: Happy Anniversary, Defense One!

To our colleagues and friends,

One year ago, Defense One launched. One year ago, we were working through the night drafting, posting, testing, editing, biting our nails and hoping that they would notice something new and bold.

Boy did they notice.

imageFrom the now iconic image (in my mind) of the soldier walking into the darkened sky to the image of the Defense One Summit stage, it’s been a helluva year for a lot of people who worked so hard with so much energy and enthusiasm and creativity to bring something new to life.

The military we cover likes to speak about their missions. Starting back in 2012, Atlantic Media and the indefatigable Government Executive Media Group team set out on a new mission to created a new digital brand, anchored by a new website, that would be something different and something lasting. We wanted to give the defense national security community a serious conversation destination for leaders trying to define “a new era,” as we love to say, in the future of our nation’s security. The method was simple: news, analysis, and bold ideas. The results have been stunning.

Already Defense One is where they want to be. Just 4 months after our launch, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel walked on stage for a live interview at the inaugural Defense One Summit to discuss his vision for the new year, the use of military force, and limits – if they exist – of America’s responsibility to global security. The Summit is still talked about in the E-Ring for the success of gathering so many high-level, sitting Defense Department leaders gathered in one place. We are planning this November’s summit and it will be bigger, better and bolder.

By now, DefenseOne.com has published exclusive op-eds and interviews with top E-Ring officials like Hagel and his top deputies, Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Martin Dempsey and at least three other chiefs, and other notables like DIA Director Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn and DARPA Director Arati Prabhakar; members of Congress like Sen. Claire McCaskill, at the height of her battle over sexual assault reform; and some of the most influential leaders of our time, like former Secretary of State Madeline Albright.

Defense One has received countless accolades from “key influencers,” as the business folks like to call them. I call them sources and readers. The biggest accolade I look for is trust – trust to speak to the nation through our website, reporters and events. Stephanie Gaskell and I came as veteran Pentagon reporters. We reached new audiences by expanding our staff into technology and politics with Patrick Tucker and Molly O’Toole, and for wider reach with news editor Ben Watson, who quickly made huge impacts. The result: solid journalism, expert commentary and constant engagement with the highest level of defense leaders.

Our digital success through the visually remarkable DefenseOne.com is steadily growing with web traffic topping 800,000 page views and nearly 600,000 unique visitors in a month. We are reaching more than 63,000 newsletter subscribers and over 5,000 mobile app downloads. And we are regularly picked up by leading aggregators and shared across social media. It’s only possible because of the best sales, marketing, events, design and digital teams in the business. It was nice to receive the 2014 Neal Award for Best Website.

Back in the office, we have doubled our humble editorial staff from three to six – for now. But this project was backed by the support of dozens staffers across the Atlantic Media, and most importantly the faith of David Bradley and Tim Hartman. I want to thank them, as well as the hardest-working editorial team in digital journalism of Stephanie Gaskell, Kedar Pavgi, Patrick Tucker, Ben Watson, and Molly O’Toole; our business side leaders of Connie Sayers, Daniela Fayer, Krystle Kopacz, David Somerville, Will Coston, Ted Lobst, Hilery Sirpis, Kelly Olson and – of course – Tom Shoop, who has championed us from the start and been an indispensable guide and friend to me.

Thank you, thank you, thank you.

Happy anniversary to all of us. Here’s to many more.

Kevin

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