Our Story

Our Story (the long version)

Oakland County Times is an independent online news site established in Ferndale in 2009 that has been growing county wide for the past several years.

Our work is a mix of independent journalism, well-curated content, event listings and information from cities and groups.  Our focus is on quality and ethics.

We have won awards, done important investigative work, and been part of community-building and civil discourse.

Our funding comes from a mix of small business advertising and our online community garden. Our current goal is to have enough readers support to cover the basic business expenses so that ad revenue can be invested in the things we need in order to fine tune and expand the work we are doing.  Our goal is to inform, inspire and unite, and we need your help.

$15 is the recommended monthly pledge, but any amount is welcome.

If you prefer to make a one-time contribution there are PayPal buttons at oc115.com, or you can send a check to Ferndale 115, PO Box 20293, Ferndale, MI 48220. Advertising information is also available for groups and businesses. Contact editor@oc115.com for more info.

The Oakland County Times is a community wide-effort organized with journalistic integrity.  Here are ways to be part of it:

Sharing Events – Send in your event info and press releases. Here is the best way: http://oaklandcounty115.com/2015/06/03/how-to-submit-event-info-to-oc115-com/

Sign up for Daily Headlines and encourage everyone you know to as well. The more readers we have, the more people will learn from the website:

https://feedburner.google.com/fb/a/mailverify?uri=Oakland_County_115_News

Chip in Towards the Funding. Even a dollar or two a month will add up to a big difference. This is a new fundraiser to help demonstrate community buy-in and support and to add stability to the project: https://www.patreon.com/oc115. Please tell others about the oc115 and encourage them to give as well.

Timeline

The Oakland County Times was founded by Ferndale native Crystal A. Proxmire, who has written for a variety of publications in addition to her work on this website.

The path began in 2005 when Proxmire created The Muskegon 115 News, her first experiment in online community news.  This lasted about six months before she moved back to the Metro Detroit area.

On June 1, 2009 the first issue of The Ferndale One-Fifteen went live.  In the first two weeks of publication there were 184 unique visitors to the website.

In Dec. 2009 The Ferndale 115 hit over 1,000 readers for the month.

In 2010 the website went from twice-monthly to daily coverage.

Publisher Crystal A. Proxmire was featured in  “Notes from the Underground” in Real Detroit Weekly, Oct. 5, 2010.

In 2011 Publisher Crystal A. Proxmire won a Ferndale Good Neighbor Award.

In 2012 the Ferndale 115 News won a Society of Professional Journalists Detroit Online Investigative Reporting 3rd Place (for coverage of School Superintendent Gary Meier using public school time and resources on a side business starting charter schools.)

In late 2014 The Ferndale 115 began growing into the Oakland County 115 News.  At this time Ferndale115.com had plateaued just over 10,000 unique readers per month.

In June 2014 we hit 20,000.  We were also mentioned in Forbes (“Inside One Detroit News Media Startups Fight to Stay Alive” in Forbes, June 18, 2014)

In Aug. 2014 we hit 30,000 readers, a spurt mainly prompted by the Great Flood of 2014.  As other news outlets focused on sensational images, we attended meetings about garbage collection and sewer lines, and we worked with a local church to funnel all the requests/offers about cleanup volunteers, donations, and needs for assistance to a central location.

In Jan. 2015 we hit 30,000 unique readers.

We were also included in a list of notable news sites in Metro Detroit by Downtown Publications.  “Metro Detroit News Sites” article in Downtown Publications, April 2015.

And Publisher Crystal A. Proxmire was profiled in Laura Berman’s column “Grassroots Journalism Keeps News Flowing” in Detroit News, June 16, 2015

In October 2015 our work was mentioned in a column by Jack Lessenberry after unsuccessful political candidate Aaron Tobin of Oak Park used false quotes attributed to oc115 and The Detroit News in campaign literature.  http://www.metrotimes.com/detroit/politics-and-prejudices-scary-bill-schuette/Content?oid=2376694.

In Nov. 2015 we hit 40,000 unique readers per month.

We also earned a 2015 Society of Professional Journalists Detroit Online Investigative Reporting 2nd Place (for coverage of the Ferndale Housing Commission).

In Feb. 2016 the oc115 hit 50,000 unique readers for the month.

On July 25, 2016, the oc115 was featured in a radio segment and column by Jack Lessenberry for Michigan Public Radio, that also ran in other publications.  http://michiganradio.org/post/keeping-reporting-alive-oakland-county#stream/0

In Oct. 2016 the oc115 hit 86,000 unique readers for the month. This was a one-time spike caused by an article we did looking into the closure of a popular restaurant by the health department.

Around this time we also added on Holly as our second focus community.  Our goal was to start fresh in a community and document the process of growth, as well as to provide a destination community with advertising to our established SE Oakland readership base.

On Jan. 12, 2017 the oc115 was featured in an article in Metromode: http://www.secondwavemedia.com/metromode/inthenews/independent-journalism-011217.aspx

On Feb. 1, 2017 oc115 founder Crystal Proxmire gave her first lecture on journalism. She spoke to about 300 students of Wayne State’s SOAR program on “Journalism in the Digital Age,” taking students through a two hour lecture on the subject.

In. Feb. 2017 the oc115 hit 70,000 unique readers for the month. We have since had several months that have exceeded 100,000 readers.

On Feb. 26, 2017 Oakland County One-Fifteen changed our name to Oakland County Times, though both websites continue to work.

In 2019 we began growing our team of freelance writers, and through the COVID-19 pandemic we continued to provide high quality journalistic coverage of our focus communities, while continuing to grow throughout the county.

We are very grateful to everyone who has helped this grassroots, independent journalism news site grow.

This website is supported by readers like you. Please chip in on our PayPal page or sign up for a monthly pledge on Patreon.