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Pikes Peak Newspapers Editor Michelle Karas

Here’s something I keep in mind when planning each week’s Cheyenne Edition: This is your newspaper. Our aim is to reflect on what’s going on in your community.

I think the Pikes Peak Newspapers team does a great job of putting engaging local content in these pages every week, but we don’t exist in a vacuum. It’s important to check in with the audience.

In the latter half of December, we conducted a survey to gather information about what content Cheyenne Edition readers would like to see more and less of. Our objective was to determine whether we’re providing the “right” content, according to you, and create a plan for the paper’s future based on your feedback.

The survey was emailed to nearly 10,000 people in the 80906 ZIP code who already get delivery of the Cheyenne Edition. We also put survey links on our Facebook and Twitter accounts and in these pages via ads and this column to catch responses from others who read the Cheyenne Edition.

A similar survey was sent to readers of the other PPN weeklies, The Tribune, Pikes Peak Courier and Woodmen Edition.

The Cheyenne Edition response rate was 4%, or 398 people. The majority of those who responded spent about five minutes with the survey, with the added incentive that completing it entered them a chance to win a King Soopers gift card.

For the Cheyenne Edition survey, 92% — or 366 respondents — live in 80906; 8% live outside that ZIP code.

Here’s what we learned about you from our survey:

• More than half of respondents were age 65 or older.

• 89% of you do not have children living at home.

• You’re extremely interested in local community news (73.3% said so).

• You are familiar with the Cheyenne Edition (97.8% said so — this is good!) and The Gazette (78.8% of respondents also subscribe to our sister paper, The Gazette).

• Most of you receive the Cheyenne Edition in your driveway each week (52.3%).

• The kind of news you’re most interested in reading: arts and entertainment, “good” news/local features, outdoors news and crime reporting.

• The kind of news you’re less interested in: education, high school sports and school news (not a surprise, since most of you don’t have kids at home).

• You’re more inclined to read the Cheyenne Edition in print, but those of you who do read news online get it from the Cheyenne Edition or Gazette online.

• If you follow our social media, you’re more engaged with the Cheyenne Edition Facebook page than Twitter (@newspikespeak).

Over 150 respondents were eager to provide comments. It’s nothing short of amazing to get this much feedback all at once. Not all of the comments were positive, but all of them helped me (and everyone at PPN) to better understand what you want.

Here’s a selection of your comments:

• “Change the look, make the articles shorter.”

• “My family has enjoyed the Wednesday Cheyenne Edition for years. Everything in it is pertinent to our lives. Thank you for publishing it.”

• “Keep it local to this area only. Only run Gazette articles when they deal with us. I like the real estate sales, crime report, history features and community happenings. Read the paper religiously.”

• “Primary reason I get the Gazette for the Wednesday insert.”

• “Would like more useful news.”

• “I hate the newspapers and ads in the driveway!!!!!!”

• “Enjoy the crosswords & Sudoku but are usually very difficult levels.”

• “Put items in here that are LOCAL TO THE NEIGHBORHOOD and especially if they are not in the Gazette already.”

• “You have a wonderful newspaper and I truly enjoy reading all the articles from beginning to end!!!”

• “You should focus more on Stratton and Stratmoor areas part of 80906. Issues with street lights, roads, representation by elected officials. Forgotten areas!”

• “I’ve been reading it since it was first published & hope it won’t be discontinued.”

• “You have a valuable product. Change can be good, but beware of doing more harm than good. Keep or strengthen community events and historical reporting. Decrease preachy, narcissistic articles on personal lifestyle.”

• “Love the puzzles, how about a couple more to challenge the old brain.”

• “So far, it’s been pretty useless. Nextdoor has more relevant immediate events, so the paper is pretty much useless, due to time-lag. Also, it mostly just portrays high-rollers in the hood, which we actually have NO care about, unless one is a suck-up looking for free advertising or money angles.”

• “I look forward to reading the Cheyenne Edition each Wednesday. I do like the hard copy.”

Thank you to those of you who completed the survey and who sent me comments directly. We did it at the busiest time of year for many people because we wanted to get some results before the end of 2019.

I appreciate all of your comments (pro and con). They are invaluable.

My main takeaways?

1. You don’t want the print edition to stop (it’s not our intention to stop print delivery — we just wanted to know if you like it and read it).

2. You don’t like news that’s already been in The Gazette, because you also receive The Gazette. Our paper is produced by three full-time and many freelance employees. Our goal is to fill the paper with “new” unique articles, but when we fall short we do reprint Gazette articles. However, we try to update them with new/different information.

3. You like local to the Cheyenne neighborhood news, restaurant news, entertainment news and looking at real estate sales and crime listings.

4. Not all of you like getting the paper delivered. If this is the case, shoot me an email with your address and I’ll forward your request to our circulation department. Or, call our circulation folks directly at 1-866-632-6397.

5. You’d like more puzzles.

6. You don’t use the website or may not know we have one (it launched just a year ago). Access all four Pikes Peak Newspapers for free (no paywall) at pikespeaknewspapers.com.

Now, what are we going to do with the information you gave us?

We’re looking to redesign all four weekly newspapers, including the Cheyenne Edition, this spring.

We want to reorganize the content to make it more reader-friendly, provide an updated design and give you more of the news you’ve asked for.

We’re also looking at possible areas to expand coverage. Starting this week we are expanding distribution of the Cheyenne Edition to Lower Skyway, including 8th Street, in 80905, due to repeated requests to do so.

We think you’ll like the “new” Cheyenne Edition. We want it to reflect more of what you want to see, and less of what you don’t.

Thank you for reading the Cheyenne Edition. We couldn’t do it without you!

Michelle Karas has called the Pikes Peak region home for more than four years. She has been editor of Pikes Peak Newspapers since June. Contact Michelle with column or story ideas, feedback and letters to the editor at michelle.karas@pikespeaknewspapers.com.

Editor, Pikes Peak Newspapers

In June 2019, Michelle became editor of the four Pikes Peak Newspapers: Pikes Peak Courier; The Tribune; and the Cheyenne and Woodmen editions. A Penn State journalism graduate, she joined the Gazette staff in 2015.

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