Introducing small, steady changes in your newspaper
August 6, 2014
We're making some content changes in the Post Independent starting today.
For the most part, these are minor tweaks that will be noticeable only by the most attentive and loyal readers. They are meant to provide richer variety in some key topics: business, health and commentary.
That's for now. Soon, we also will beef up entertainment content and nonprofit coverage.
I'm a fan of steady, sustainable progress. Small, sometimes-imperceptible changes accomplish more in the long run than trying to do The Big Thing all at once. If we throw a bucket of water on a rock, it makes a splash, but the rock is unchanged and dries quickly. If we create a stream of water on the rock, eventually it causes a lasting change.
So we are striving for a steady stream of variety and improvement. Sometimes, that will involve experimentation and failure. In those cases, we'll change direction. One of the great things about the news business is that we get to try to get it right again every day.
For business coverage, we are committed to seeking a front-page story each Monday on the local economy, a local business or trend. That might be pre-empted at times by other news, but not often.
Today, for example, reporter John Stroud looks at the Glenwood Springs housing market, a significant local issue, in advance of City Council hearings on the proposed Glenwood Ridge development and annexation.
One of our features, Meet Your Merchant, is an opportunity for business operators to share what they do and why it's important and/or fun.
We'd like this to showcase businesses from throughout Garfield County, and have made the form easier to find on PostIndependent.com, where it now appears toward the top of the page to the right.
One thing to note: This feature is to introduce your business, not to pitch a specific product or sale. Call me at 970-384-9110 if you can't find it or have questions. Business leaders and entrepreneurs inspire me and have my admiration. I'm eager to share your stories with readers.
In addition to the contributed business columns we already offer by Pat Dalrymple on banking and mortgage lending; by Danielle Howard on personal finance; and by Matthew Laurel Trinidad on business law and estate planning, we will add a monthly column from graduates of Roaring Fork Leadership on their important takeaways.
For our Body & More coverage on Tuesdays, which already features columns by Midland Fitness owner Steve Wells — who consistently delivers a good read — Valley View Hospital and Dana Wood of Garfield County's LiveWell program, we'll be adding voices.
Sandro Torres, a Carbondale fitness trainer, will write about fitness and lifestyle; Mari Rose Hale will write "Semi-Conscious" about her quest for purpose and grounding; and Angelyn Frankenberg will write "Successful Aging."
Full disclosure: Angye is my wife. She has a master's degree in physical education, great ideas about keeping mind and body sound, and good writing skills. She makes me eat stuff that's good for me, so I'm getting even by coaxing her into writing this column.
On the opinion page, we will be moving away from some of the lifestyle columns we have featured there toward news-related commentary. Former PI contributor Mary Boland will return, balancing more conservative contributors James Kellogg and Ross Talbott.
The opinion page transition will be somewhat gradual, but you'll start to see more editorials and edge. We'll be writing mostly on local and regional issues, seeking to provide perspective and to be solution-oriented. We will work to promote vigorous but civil discussion. We won't try to solve the Middle East conflict.
Already, we have featured a few guest opinions, one of which, by Sara Garton of Aspen about service at the Glenwood Springs driver's license station, drew an apology from the Division of Motor Vehicles. It was great citizen journalism that made me envious — if only editorials got such results.
Feel free to email your guest opinions to me at email@example.com. We won't run everything, but we will consider submissions. Topics of local interest stated well and without name-calling get priority for guest opinions — and letters.
Later this fall, we will add a listing of volunteer and nonprofit needs. Nonprofits are prolific and important in our region, and our new listing will complement our weekly Nonprofit Spotlight. If you know of a nonprofit that should be featured in our pages, email news editor Charlie Wertheim, firstname.lastname@example.org.
The most visible change we'll be making will be to our entertainment section that runs on Fridays.
We are taking applications for a writer/editor for this section, which this fall, after the new staffer gets up to speed, will become a pull-out section of the paper featuring a magazine-like cover, editor's picks and a livelier roundup of the best stuff to do for the weekend.
We will aim for a fun section that also provides good digital engagement and opportunities to lift our content off the pages of the paper and off the computer screen to involve the community in activities.
That's the closest we'll come to a big splash. Stay tuned.
And turn to the funny pages today. One other little change, which I wrote about earlier: "Doonesbury" is out and "Frazz" is in. "Frazz" is new every day; "Doonesbury" is not. It's a newspaper, not an oldspaper.
Randy Essex is editor of the Post Independent.