In the words of the late, great Molly Ivins, too many newspaper publishers "for some reason, assume people will want to buy more newspapers if they have less news in them and are less useful to people." Today, retrenchment is the buzzword at too many newspapers, where the strategy is to reduce page count, fire reporters and editors, and use more wire-service stories.
Here at the Independent, we're doing exactly the opposite. What follows is a roundup of changes, most rolling out this week:
10. To acknowledge the reality of what we actually do, we're adding "community building" to our overall mission and to our cover. (And on that note, if you know of a nonprofit that should apply to become part of Indy Give! 2012, let us know.)
9. In this day of distant corporate control of almost all media, we will be highlighting that at this news organization, decisions are made by local owners with true commitments to our community. In fact, we will take this opportunity to state that we are proud to be the Pikes Peak region's largest locally owned media company — with 125,000 print readers, 105,000 unique monthly cyber readers at csindy.com, 35 full-time staff and 40-plus regular freelancers/part-time employees.
8. To make it easier for readers to locate their favorite features, from music listings to local news, from puzzles to our regular and guest columns, we've added a table of contents as well as short folios across the bottom of each page, highlighting what is on that page as well as what is ahead (or behind — for the one-third of readers who read their Indy from back to front!).
7. Into what we're now calling our "Views" section, we're adding one insightful regional or national opinion piece pertinent to the Pikes Peak region, often reprinted from another publication (with permission). Our first such feature is on the implications of the Colorado River drying up. Starting in May, we will also feature additional web-only columns and viewpoints at csindy.com.
We must stress that adding a regular regional/national commentary will not in any way diminish our devotion to all things local. In fact, we hope to add another regular local columnist soon.
6. We have moved our print day from Thursday to Wednesday, so readers can have more time to plan their weekend play. Along with the change, "7 Days to Live," Playing Around and Listings will now highlight events from Wednesdays through Tuesdays.
5. Our movie section is becoming a combo print/web edition. Each week the printed Indy will continue to feature film reviews, a movie ratings chart and information on upcoming local film events. Online at csindy.com, you can still find up-to-the-minute, accurate movie times plus comprehensive reviews and links to trailers.
4. We are increasing our circulation reach by adding 100 new outdoor boxes, and increasing the size of our inside racks at all area King Soopers, Albertsons and Safeways. In addition, we're now available at all of the region's Wal-Marts from Falcon to Woodland Park, providing more readers with convenient access to the Indy.
3. We have added Life in Hell, the cartoon panel created and drawn by Matt Groening, creator of the iconic The Simpsons. You'll also find a diabolically fun new XSudoku, where you have to line up your 1s through 9s every which way, including diagonally.
2. Other changes of note:
• Long Story Short has moved to Letters.
• Stranger Than Fiction is now at the end of Listings.
• We've revised our Dine & Dash look.
• Reverb and Playing Around have a new design.
• And since our new table of contents features page numbers and teasers to several stories, we have eliminated teasers from our front page, giving our covers a cleaner look.
1. In order to pay for all the above changes, we have doubled our street price from free to ... free. But there is no such thing as a free lunch. We rely on our wonderful advertisers to keep us in peanut butter.
Please, next time it is convenient, thank the folks who make it all possible. Their ads are featured throughout our print and web editions.