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Pikes Peak Newspapers Editor Michelle Karas

Here’s something I keep in mind when planning each week’s Woodmen 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 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 Woodmen 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 more than 16,000 people in the 80919 and 80920 ZIP Codes who already receive the Woodmen Edition. 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 Woodmen Edition.

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

The Woodmen Edition survey response rate was 3.7%, or 612 people. The majority of those who responded spent about six minutes with the survey, with the added incentive that completing it entered them a chance to win a $250 or $50 King Soopers gift card.

For the Woodmen Edition survey, 46.7% — or 286 respondents — live in 80919; 47.2% — or 289 respondents — live in 80920. There were 37 surveys completed by people who 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.

• 86.7% of you do not have children living at home.

• You’re extremely interested in local community news (88% said so).

• You are familiar with the Woodmen Edition (97.2% said so; you’ve heard of us — this is good!) and The Gazette (73.6% of respondents also subscribe to our sister paper, The Gazette).

• Most of you receive the print version of the Cheyenne Edition in your driveway each week (69%).

• 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: cducation, high school sports and school news (not a surprise, since most of you don’t have kids at home).

• The Woodmen Edition coverage territory contains part of School District 20 and some of District 11. 68.6% of Woodmen Edition survey respondents are interested in D-20 news; 27.6% want D-11 news.

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

• People who live in Rockrimmon want more Rockrimmon News. People who live in the Briargate area want more Briargate news. This is something that has us taking another look at the coverage area — do we need to change it?

• About 69% of Woodmen Edition respondents said they identify as a North Colorado Springs resident.

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

• Nearly 240 respondents were eager to provide additional comments. This is the most comments we received from any of the four weeklies’ surveys. Not a surprise, as Woodmen Edition is our highest-circulation paper (around 25,000 readers).

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 have read it front-to-back for as long as I can remember and I love it for news in my area of town. If you are looking for a more precise name, I would select Northwest Colorado Springs edition.”

• “More coverage of charter schools, i.e. TCA.”

• “I do appreciate the local stories as presented in this Woodmen Edition

• “I would love to see local restaurant discounts and coupons. I also like to hear good news and positive things happening in the area.”

• “Been reading the Woodmen Edition for over 20 years. Great local Northwest articles. Pinecliff residents.”

• “Don’t forget to cover older residents who are doing interesting things.”

• “I deeply and persistently resent having to pick up your uninvited and unwelcome rag and carry it to the trash. Please stop delivering it.”

• “It goes directly from driveway to garbage.”

• “I like the Woodmen Edition and always read through it.”

• “Appreciate the neighborhood news and high school sports information.”

• “Just that I love it. I love the articles that highlight local people and events, I like the crime reports, what’s happening, the columns, the real estate sales. It makes me feel connected to my community. One thing I would love to see added is an advice/information column that pertains to local issues. Like, “what are they building at Research and Chapel Hills?” Or, “what might I do about my neighbor who has never watered his lawn once in the 3 years he’s lived here? I’m afraid he’s decreasing the value of my home.” ...you know, neighborhood issues. I wouldn’t mind if the focus of the paper spread up north a little, since it’s close to us and we do find ourselves shopping & eating up there occasionally. But one of the things that makes it so great is that it just focuses on our immediate area and not the whole city.”

• “We are very interested in the news and articles about the happenings in our neighborhood. Also the real estate and crime reports.”

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.

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 like local to your neighborhood news (be that Peregrine, Pine Creek, Rockrimmon, Briargate, Mountain Shadows or North Springs), restaurant news, entertainment news and looking at real estate sales and crime listings.

3. We need to pay more attention to Rockrimmon and District 11.

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 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 Woodmen 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 considering changing the Woodmen territory, perhaps re-aligning the northern territory.

We’re also looking at possible areas to expand coverage — such as Black Forest and Banning Lewis Ranch.

We’ll let you know when we’re going to make changes.

We think you’ll like the “new” Woodmen 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 Woodmen 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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