Making progress at the PI; what’s your view?
2015 is a little more than halfway over. From my publisher’s seat I’d like to give you my thoughts on how the Post Independent is doing this year. After reading my appraisal, it would be great if you let me know if I am on track.
From the front door to the back door of our offices on 824 Grand Ave., person-for-person this is the best team of which I’ve had the privilege of being a member. That includes Ryan Hoffman in our Rifle office as well as our two summer interns, Brett Milam and Kelli Rollin. If you have been fortunate to work with such an outstanding team you know the great atmosphere that magic can create. You really look forward to coming to work every day.
Readership and revenue are all showing major growth for the second year in a row. I believe it is because of the great partnership we as individuals and as a team have created with you, the community we serve.
Editor Randy Essex is a big part of our transformation. He brings the worldly experience from big-city newspapers and translates it nicely to our wonderful small community. That isn’t easy to do. We are not afraid to write about controversial issues, and then we have to face those very same people who are subjects of the stories in the grocery store. It is common for me to walk through the veggie aisle and have a stranger stare at me and finally walk up and say, “You are the newspaper guy right?” When you are an editor or columnist your picture is in the newspaper weekly. You know what we look like and where to find us.
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Randy’s work can be seen in many ways. For starters, he is a great mentor to both our younger staff members as well as our veterans. He’s been very patient with me as he has taught me the proper use of the apostrophe. Thanks to his editing, I have become a far better writer.
When I first arrived back to Glenwood in the fall of 2013, I received complaints about our biased reporting at least a couple of times a week, primarily from those with a right-leaning political view. I believe those readers were correct in their assessment. Today, I rarely get a complaint from readers regarding content. A good part of that is due to Randy’s ability to put out news that tells the story without an agenda.
Facebook is important to many people, and Randy and crew have made it an easy entrance to our website by posting content regularly. When I arrived, only 1,950 of you were fans. As I write this, 5,370 of you are fans — thank you very much.
Jake Marine, our distribution manager, has done a great job of making sure newspapers are available throughout the region. This was a big issue when I arrived, especially in Rifle and Carbondale, where it was a real challenge to find the Post Independent anywhere after 11 a.m. Today Jake has set up what we like to call “never-go-empty” locations throughout the market. These locations are primarily at high-traffic areas like City Markets and the post offices throughout the community.
People have a tendency to take a whole stack of papers to supply their office or to send to friends and family if they are in the paper. If you need extra newspapers we would sure appreciate it if you would call Jake at 970-384-9148 instead of emptying a neighborhood box.
Based on feedback, we have created two new products in 2015. Every month you can look forward to coupon offerings from local businesses both print and on line http://www.stealtodaysdeal.com/coupons/glenwood-springs. This spring we started FUN! weekly geared toward visitors of our area. I have been told by many local residents that you also enjoy this publication, as it is a handy guide for fun things to do packaged by our own queen of fun, Jessica Cabe.
Our three multimedia-advertising experts are near capacity and have been providing more advertising customers than ever great advice on how best to reach you, their audience. Unlike most of the country, our print newspaper is still read by the vast majority of you in our community. But you are also using many forms of digital platforms, and we are able to offer you and our advertisers cutting edge technology. You may have seen our offerings that include sweepstakes, contests, digital marketing on computers, smartphones and tablets, e-mail, social media and more. Advertising is the fuel that allows us to invest in high-quality information products at no charge to you.
Still, we have our challenges. I haven’t spoken to one person who enjoys our online Google surveys. But those surveys help generate the revenue to pay for the expense of our free web-based news and information service.
The e-edition of our newspaper has been spotty. Gina, one of our top e-edition readers and a very early riser, lets me know early in the morning when there is a technical issue. Thank you, Gina!
Randy from Black Bear Liquors called me Monday to let me know that he can’t get a return call from our newspaper. We have been cleaning up our boxes, and the one in front of his store was removed to be repainted and hasn’t returned. I apologize to Randy and anyone else who may not get a prompt return call. It doesn’t happen often, but if it does, my direct line is 384-9100 if you are having issues. Jake did get the box back in front of Black Bear on Monday.
I also heard from Erin and Katie at Treadz, as they were having real challenges with ad design and timely proofs. I chalk that up to growing pains. Our team of three advertising specialists has been extremely busy with the growth we have seen. It is probably time to add a fourth person. If you know of someone that may be a good fit, send that person my way.
Are we perfect? Heck no. And no matter how well we do, I’m cursed with the inability to ever be satisfied. We appreciate your civil feedback both positive and critical. We are here to serve you. If you have ideas of how we may continue to make improvements, call or email me. And thanks for reading.
Michael Bennett is publisher of the Post Independent. His email is email@example.com.
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