Column: A few changes coming to the Citizen Telegram
You might notice we’ve changed a few things in the Citizen Telegram since I took over as editor. But if you haven’t, then I hope by the start of 2020 you will see more changes for the better in the pages of your 116-year-old community paper.
With publisher Jerry Raehal’s blessing, the CT is undergoing a makeover – a refresher, as it would be.
We already have some ideas on what we would like to change, but we also want input from you, the readers, on what you would like to see. What is your favorite part of the paper? What draws you in to pick up a copy of the paper each Thursday?
One of the biggest changes we’re considering is changing the day the CT appears on newsstands.
Currently, the paper hits the street Thursday mornings in western Garfield County. That means our deadline is 11 a.m. Wednesday to make sure it can start printing that afternoon.
Working with our press crew in Gypsum, we’re considering making the Citizen Telegram a Friday paper. That would move our deadline to Thursday morning and give us another day to get more news of the week in the paper.
You could see more coverage of city council, high school sports advances and more.
That’s the biggest change we’re considering. The biggest change we’ve already made is our front page. I’m a big believer that strong photos draw the readers in, and page one is prime real estate in the newspaper business. Since moving to Rifle, I have tried to display the best and/or most important image of the week.
Through trial and error we have landed on a template, but we want to tweak it a little more by adding teasers to what’s inside the paper that week.
A revamped flag – the banner across the top of the paper – is also in the works. We want to keep the nostalgic look of the historic paper, but give it a little tune up. What do you think? Is there something else you’d like to see us do with the front page?
We’d also like your input on plans for the inside pages. Newspapers are usually orderly and most readers know where to find what they want just from memory. That’s why I would like to make the inside pages more orderly and give the CT a more section-based feel.
Starting with page 2, you will soon find a picture from coverage of an area event, wildlife or just some fun in the community.
The page will be filled out with a local column, and a news story or feature from the Rifle, Silt, Parachute and Battlement Mesa area.
We are also reaching out to local business owners, school district officials, community leaders and others to rotate on a monthly-contributed column. Have an idea for a column? Send us a note.
As you dive further into the paper, pages 3 & 4 will be filled with the main features and news stories of the week.
Since starting as your editor, I’ve been covering as much as possible in the area. But there’s always the desire to do more. What am I missing? What as readers do you want to see in the pages of the CT? What do you enjoy most about our current coverage?
Another idea we are considering is a “Pet of the Week,” working with the Rifle Animal Shelter to share what they have for adoptable animals at the facility.
What are the community’s thoughts on the calendar page? Photos have helped brighten the gray page and make it more inviting. But, I would like to have more contributed photos from the community to run on the calendar page. Those pictures could be from events I am unable to attend, the lesser-known corners of western Garfield County, or just cute photos from the area.
If you’re familiar with our sister paper the Glenwood Springs Post Independent’s #postsnaps every week, we plan to start #riflegram for local readers to submit their best Instagram photos to our page @riflecitizentelegram.
Please send me any thoughts and ideas you have on these proposed changes and anything else. We’re excited about the changes we’ve made and the future of the Citizen Telegram, but we still need your insights to make sure we produce the best possible paper for Rifle. And, as always, thanks for reading.
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