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Pikes Peak Newspapers Editor Michelle Karas

Here’s something I keep in mind when planning each week’s Tribune: 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 it helps to check in with the audience from time to time.

In the latter half of December, we conducted a survey to gather information about what content Tribune 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 more than 10,300 people in the 80132 and 80921 ZIP Codes who already receive the Tribune. We also put a link on our Facebook and Twitter accounts and in these pages via ads and this column to catch responses from others who read the Tribune.

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

The Tribune survey response rate was 4.3%, or 447 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 King Soopers gift cards.

For the Tribune survey, 54.1% — or 242 respondents — live in 80132; 34.5% — or 154 respondents — live in 80921; and 4.5% — or 20 respondents — live in Palmer Lake. There were 31 surveys completed by people who live outside those ZIP codes.

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

• Half of the respondents were age 65 or older.

• 82.3% of you do not have children living at home.

• You’re extremely interested in local community news (79.2% said so).

• You are familiar with The Tribune (95.4% said so; you’ve heard of us — this is good!) and The Gazette (68.2% of respondents also subscribe to our sister paper, The Gazette).

• Most of you receive the print version of The Tribune in your driveway each week (63.4%).

• We do not currently distribute to Palmer Lake; 17 of the 20 people from Palmer Lake who took the survey said they’d like to have free access to it in their ZIP code. We realize 20 respondents is too small to be a reliable survey sample. But we took their input into consideration nonetheless as we’d like to start distributing The Tribune in Palmer Lake (see below).

• 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).

• Tribune readers who do have kids at home (17.7% of respondents) are extremely interested in education and school news (more than 81% of that group), but not so much high school sport (59.4% of households with children who took the survey).

• The Tribune coverage territory contains part of School District 38 and some of District 20. More than 60% of Tribune survey respondents are interested in D-38 news; 42% want D-11 news.

• You’re more inclined to read The Tribune in print, but those who read news online get it from The Tribune or Gazette websites.

• Monument residents (80132) are interested in news from the entire coverage area (Monument, Woodmoor, Gleneagle, Flying Horse, Northgate, Interquest) plus Palmer Lake, but are less interested in D-20 news. North Colorado Springs (80921) residents are interested in the entire area plus Palmer Lake and have more interest in D-20 news.

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

• 103 Tribune survey respondents were eager to provide additional 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 to better understand what you want.

Here’s a selection of your comments:

• “I read the Tribune faithfully.”

• “You suck. You are a puppet by certain local politicians and the Tri-Lakes Chamber of Commerce.”

• “Please highlight the arts more in our community. Also, any guest columns should be questioned and reviewed prior to publish for any driving forces/motives behind the action. Fact-checking is vital.”

• “It keeps us in touch with what is going on in our little community. With children grown and out of the schools, we would feel isolated without some local news.”

• “Stop your BS opinions. Colorado is not California.”

• “We have been ‘empty nesters’ for a long time so school news does not interest us as much as it did when we first moved to the area a long time ago.”

• “The quality of articles is improving, although I prefer more local news vs COS articles.”

• “Profile more local businesses and the people who run them”

• “School sports are of little interest, Volunteer opportunities and existing volunteer organizations are very interesting. More community volunteer personal profiles other than sports. More Chess, science, arts, nonprofits, diversified cultural experiences, industry mentoring and much more in public service information like Neighborhood Watch, Emergency Prep/Fire Preparedness & mitigation.”

• “Love it, keep it coming. I LIKE PRINT!!!”

• “It is a little redundant to read in The Tribune what I have already read in The Gazette.”

Thank you to those of you who completed the survey. 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 personally appreciate all of your comments (pro and con). They are invaluable.

My main takeaways?

1. You don’t like news that’s already been in the Gazette, because you also receive the Gazette.

2. 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).

3. You like local to your 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, send 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 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 Pikes Peak Newspapers, including The Tribune, 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 — such as Palmer Lake and Black Forest.

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

Thank you for reading The Tribune. We couldn’t do it without you!

Michelle Kara has been editor of Pikes Peak Newspapers since June. Contact Michelle 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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