Stop and think about what you are doing.

We did that last weekend in Las Vegas.  After publishing for 222 consecutive days, we took off last Saturday and Sunday so we could focus on what we are doing based on what we’ve learned.

We decided to give our writers two days off in part to see if anyone would notice.  In publishing a news site, we look at a lot of data–something the gods at Google call “analytics.”  One of the lessons we’ve learned is that our readership keeps office hours, M-F.

We had much ground to cover during these meetings at The Venetian, a resort hotel casino that does everything but hand out Togas to make you feel in the period.  At the risk of breaking the No. 1 rule of “What happens in Vegas, Stays in Vegas,” here are some highlights:

Food Safety News will continue under the sole sponsorship of Marler Clark, the nation’s best-known food safety law firm.   In just a few months of existence, we already had genuine offers to merge with other online papers and for advertising.

The change we are making actually involves some shifting about so that our main news focus will be on weekdays when we have the highest readership, according to all our data.  We will still have new content seven days a week, but it will be lighter on Saturdays and take more of a commentary approach on Sundays.

In addition to the “Letter from the Editor,” we decided in Vegas that we had actually built too big a wall between Food Safety News and Bill Marler, our “publisher.”  What we’ve now asked Bill to do is to share with our readers on Sundays his views on the latest food safety news.

Thousands daily around the world read Bill’s award-winning personal blog, and whether there is smoke or fire involving food safety he is almost always in the thick of it.

We also are going to step-up our outreach to the food safety community to enlist more of you as contributors.  While we have brought many of you on board, we are far from done.

When all roles are taken into account, about ten people make Food Safety News happen.  We plan to keep our primary focus on those pathogens that can land people in the hospital with foodborne illnesses in a few hours or days.  Food safety issues that might have longer term or unknown impacts will continue to merit our attention too.

Anyone who does not believe serious work goes on in Vegas should have been with us for our discussions on writing style or writing for search engines or dealing with Moveable Type issues.   These are subjects that are about as sexy as dirt.

We need your help to make this work as we go forward.  We’ve gotten off to a good start, but there is so much we want to accomplish.   We will continue to welcome your comments, questions, and suggestions.

Now its back to work for another 222 days.