The Gazette will be celebrating several milestones in December and creating a major new one in a downtown move that we know will have an impact on this news organization and Colorado Springs.
It has been one year since I was introduced as The Gazette's new editor when Clarity Media announced it was buying the 141-year-old newspaper. Today is the first anniversary of that announcement, and I'm proud to say The Gazette and its website, gazette.com, have accomplished much in 2013 so it can be viable for you in 2014 and far into the future.
However, the biggest change for us will be coming toward the end of the month when The Gazette and its more than 180 employees will move from 30 S. Prospect St. to 6 N. Tejon St. downtown. While we do print The Gazette in Denver, the Tejon site is a permanent location in Colorado Springs where nearly all of The Gazette's employees will work. We plan to be there for a long time.
It's a fitting way to end a year that has been one of constant change for The Gazette. Those changes include adding nearly 40 pages a week to The Gazette while redesigning it three times during the past year. We added new sections in Life and Springs Military Life. We added new features, columnists and more color, including to the daily comics and other features that you enjoy. We also updated the design of gazette.com, added features to it and improved our usage of videos and interactive graphics so you could enjoy our stories even more.
However, we also kept traditions that are valued in this city. We continued the Empty Stocking Fund, which celebrates its 30th year of providing much-needed funds to nonprofits in our city. We continued with popular columnists such as Bill Vogrin and David Ramsey. We updated our approach to history and this community by the new "Who We Are" page daily on Page B2, but we didn't take away "Today in History" and "Back Pages" in the process.
Our goal was to build upon the foundation that made The Gazette great through the years and add to it and interact more with you, our readers.
In reviewing our milestones in 2013, I'm most proud that we've reconnected with the community and are once again the trusted source for news, information and services that help our readers and community thrive. I'm also proud of the journalism that we've produced and the results that we've shown.
Our project "Other Than Honorable" has produced congressional action; others such as "The State of Colorado Education," "Looming Danger," "Apocalypse" and "The Future of Downtown" have given you in-depth looks at issues that affect this state, region and city.
Another project on parents moving to Colorado to provide their epileptic children with a medical marijuana oil attracted more than 6,100 Facebook shares and showed the impact of our journalism. Issues on homelessness, downtown and the airport have spawned "Community Conversations" in which hundreds of you have been given a chance to hear experts, ask questions and offer your own views in small-group discussions.
We have partnered with I-News Network on its important project "Losing Ground" on the growing disparities faced by minorities in our community and state. And we reported on the major stories of the year, from wildfires to flooding to Amendment 66 to the recall of Sen. John Morse to the government shutdown, in a way to provide you not only with the most up-to-date information but with the stories about the people who were most deeply affected.
We had fun, too, with the summer and winter fun guides, the Dog Days of Summer project, and several photo and Super Bowl fan contests, among many.
Yes, we've made mistakes along the way, ones that we try to address quickly when readers point them out. Mike Chiapperino pointed out a couple, but then added he has noticed the improvements and that he has become a fan of The Gazette. The improvements, in his words, are: 1. "Special reports/thorough treatment of hot issues." 2. "Placement of local news on page 1 and a healthy emphasis on local news throughout the paper." 3. "Good writing, combined with an effective typographical display of copy and pictures to capture the full drama and excitement of the day's news. Excellent printing/use of color." 4. "The vintage photos and captions you include every day on page 2 of the local section are fun. I also like the inventive pieces in General Palmer's voice every Sunday." 5. "I like the personal touch, finding real people in our city/region and doing feature stories on them and/or seeing current events through their eyes."
"In my opinion, a strong newspaper reports fully on and explains the meaning of local, national and international events of major significance to its own community. Its editorial comment provides an informed opinion on matters of vital concerns to its readers," Chiapperino wrote. "The Gazette has made vast improvements in this area during the past year."
Readers such as Mike are helping us to become a better news organization for this community and state. That's why we consider The Gazette as a news organization that not only cares deeply about its community but also wants to produce journalism that will have an impact on Colorado and the nation. It sometimes makes you angry and sometimes makes you smile, but is always focused on helping our community and enriching readers' lives. It's what a news organization that cares does in its community.
That will continue in 2014. In our new offices, we are not going to admire the new surroundings for very long. We'll be covering the Super Bowl, if the Broncos can make it, the Olympics, the elections, among many other stories and projects. We'll also be seeking even more reader interaction and seeking to grow Community Conversations.
As I wrote when I came here, we are committed to Colorado Springs, the Pikes Peak region and Colorado. Our move to downtown shows that continuing commitment. We appreciate your commitment to us and hope it will continue in 2014.
Happy holidays to you and your family.