Voices carry... into the Indy

Why do you pick up the Independent?

We've been asking hundreds of people this question, one-on-one, in groups and via social media. What we've heard from subsets of our readership — 142,000 in print, another 100,000 via the web — is that you rely on the Indy for the most in-depth local news, the coolest to-dos in the local arts and entertainment scene, and our community-building initiatives.

But one recurring comment we've heard is that you want our "Views" section to represent a broader swath of the community. With that in mind, we're adding a couple of much-needed new voices to our mix. Beginning next week, a pair of opinionated and talented women will regularly rotate their work through the pages of this newspaper.

Kirsten Akens, our associate editor, is a Colorado College grad who spent years in the nonprofit sector before settling in the journalism world 6½ years ago. For much of her time at the Indy, she has toiled mostly behind the scenes, helping make our reporters' work sing and working closely with our interns. You will enjoy the insights on our community from this woman, who has little fear of trying new things. (See: running, obstacle-adventure racing, fencing, yogi training, professional wrestling ...) Married and a mother to two felines and an adorable Boston terrier, Kirsten's lived in Colorado Springs her entire adult life and enjoys frequenting local restaurants, seeking the best in vegetarian fare.

Laura Austin Eurich, senior instructor and director of undergraduate studies in the Communications Department at the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs, has been a resident since moving here from New York in 1980. Eurich's "Austin's City Limits" column formerly appeared in the Gazette and, back in the 1990s, the Indy. Mom to two teenage girls, George the wonder pup and a tortoiseshell cat, Eurich enjoys hiking, doing yoga, sampling beer and visiting great dive bars, and is excited for this gig because "the Indy has the right spirit. I love the Indy and I love newspapers."

Besides expanding our "Views" section to include these two experienced journalists, you'll notice a few other changes. First, executive editor Ralph Routon (who spends his days at the Colorado Springs Business Journal) will cut back to just one Indy column a week. You'll generally find it up front as "Between the Lines," but don't count out a sports column on particularly interesting local items of note when they come up.

Next, check out our updated table of contents, which is now easier to navigate because we've added subheads so you'll know — at a glance — where one section ends and the next begins. On that contents page, you'll also find highlights of our digital features: Read our blog on csindy.com, visit us on Twitter or Facebook, read us through our flippable online digital edition or iPad app, or check out m.csindy.com on your smartphone. We'll point you to the must-sees ... then hope you'll explore more on your own.

And finally, "Slice of Life" is back on p. 3 along with "Long Story Short," which gives you the back story on something (usually the main feature) in each week's paper.

Another Indy offering to check out is our recently expanded "Garden of the Goods" marketplace, offering thousands of dollars in savings on local food, salon treatments, fitness classes, recreation options and more. We bring you unique stuff to do, see and buy for a steal.

And because we're adding even more awesome stuff every week, I invite you to check it out with the special discount code you'll find in the ad on p. 40. Garden of the Goods gift certificates already get you 50 percent or more off treats ranging from dental services to sandwiches, but that code will give you extra reason to check them out today! Watch the Indy, our e-newsletters and csindy.com for ways to sign up to get the discounts delivered directly to your inbox.

Every week we work hard to publish the best damn paper in the Pikes Peak region, bursting with the most important news, arts, entertainment and events. We value your input! Send us a letter, add a comment online, and if you know of — or possess — a local voice that should be considered for print, shoot me an e-mail.