Q: Compared to what is happening at the Gazette, how is the Indy doing?
A: Today, an all-time high of 110,000 adults read the Independent at least three out of four weeks, according to the latest market research. More than 70,000 folks check out csindy.com regularly. Plus our two new free e-newsletters, IndyBlast and Indy Insider, sport a combined 6,000 subscribers. (Sign up on csindy.com. It's free.)
Our readers tend to be well-educated, have higher incomes than the market average and enjoy exploring what our great community has to offer. Advertisers like reaching these people.
For the first time since we launched 15 years ago, the Independent now is the No. 1 local information source for 18- to 49-year-olds. And as daily newspaper readership plummets, more advertisers are turning to the Independent.
While the Pikes Peak region will weather the economic storm better than most places, we will continue to feel real pain. Ad budgets at many companies will shrink. But as long as we can keep our readers loyal, we'll thrive.
Q: So will the Indy need to cut back in 2009?
A: Nope just the opposite. While other media companies retrench, we'll use our savings to expand our editorial crew, our print circulation and our Web presence all designed to enhance our value to both readers and advertisers.
Civic involvement is also crucial to our mission, and that's another area where we have big plans:
The Independent's fourth Fort Carson Town Hall Meeting is set for Friday, Feb. 6, 2009, at Pikes Peak Community College's southern campus. More than 42,000 soldiers and their family members will join our community by 2014, and we need to be prepared. This event will feature the post's commander, Maj. Gen. Mark Graham, as well as updates on everything from housing to preschool to behavioral health issues.
We are working with the Colorado Springs Economic Development Corp. to encourage green and "triple bottom-line" businesses (measuring success by economic, environmental and social factors) to relocate here, by way of outreach teams and printed materials.
We'll sponsor a second Election Protection Town Hall Meeting, hopefully with Colorado's incoming secretary of state and El Paso County Clerk and Recorder Bob Balink.
We'll continue raising money and awareness for worthy causes. Our current focus is on Care and Share Food Bank for Southern Colorado as well as Project COPE.
We'll hold candidate forums yes, there is another municipal election right around the corner, in April for four Colorado Springs City Council seats.
And for a real fun project, we'll host a community-wide 15th birthday bash to thank everyone who has helped make Colorado Springs a two-newspaper town once again. This celebration and commemorative issue will happen around Independence Day 2009.
Q: Is there a secret to the Independent's success?
A: Our biggest competitive asset: This is our home. We live here, we raise our kids here, and many of us will die here. Our writers, sales executives, designers, drivers, support staff and freelancers really care and it shows. Meanwhile, our major ideological competitor has run through 10 publishers and top editors since we launched. Ten! And now the Gazette's top spot has been vacant for two-plus months. Like any business, a newspaper needs consistent, visionary leadership.
Another secret: We aim to live by the toast my Dad gave after our inaugural issue: "Have Fun. Do Good. Make Money."
Q: How can I help the Indy thrive?
A: By reading us regularly and critically, sending us story ideas and listings, supporting our advertisers and telling your friends to read our paper, and being active in the community, you provide the oxygen we need. While we claim to be Independent, we are in fact dependent on your involvement, week after week after week. Together, we can make our community more exciting, tolerant, ecologically sound, connected and imaginative.