Improving the Gazette - Is it Possible?

I submitted the following suggestions to the Gazette in response to "Asking for Feedback."  The email was returned because "address couldn't be found."  Please add that to my suggestions.

Improving the Gazette - The good news is you have many opportunities to improve - the bad news is you have a long way to go.

Here are just a few suggestions:

            More news is better.  Take a look at the Gazette from 25, 50, 100 years ago.  You will see that page one has more words, more information, more news.  Your new look (December 10, 2012) is just the opposite - more open space, more ads, less news.  A bigger logo and bigger pictures do not make a better newspaper.

            It is as easy as A, B, C.  Section A should be one section, not two or three or four.  Repeat for Section B; repeat for Section C.  I complained about this to a senior Gazetteer in the past.  His answer said it all - "it's because of the advertisers."  The Gazette should concentrate on its readers, not the advertisers.  You put together a good newspaper and you will have eager readers.  Once you have readership, you will get the advertisers.  When I worked with a magazine several careers ago, we focused on readers and content.  I had no problem selling advertising.  Simple as A, B, C.

            Afraid to die in Colorado Springs.  I, for one, am.  No telling where my obituary is going to be.  The paper is poorly organized.  Very poorly organized.  At one point it was Gazette policy to put things all over the place.  Not a good policy then, not a good policy now.

            Give your top reporter a vacation.  The most prolific reporter for the Gazette is TA (Tah) Press, as in The Associated Press.  Even for local issues.  Get your reporters out from behind their desks.

            Fresh Ink is a poor follow on to The Hub.  Used to be a Wednesday section, then it disappeared; then it came back as a couple of pages; then it became a page or so.  If you want citizen journalism, come up with a decent format.

            Don't be tacky.  Tacky is a sticker on the front page.  Tacky is a fold over ad on the front of one or more of the sections.  Tacky is tacky.

            Cover local things of interest.  The Woodmen Edition reported developments in the Woodmen/Academy interchange construction quite well and very often.  What did the Gazette do?  You cannot be the first to report national news, or state news, so concentrate on where we live.  What's happening locally that I should know about?  Where can I go for exercise, to learn something, to be entertained? 

            Figure out a better way to save money.  The paper the Gazette is printed on is so cheap I can't hold it up without the pages curling.

            Make it a worthwhile read/make it worth our money. Hardly anybody I know subscribes to the Gazette anymore.  Is that the readers' fault?  I don't think so. 

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Comment by Franklin D. Ohlin on January 1, 2013 at 11:34am

I miss the HUB.  And though I have had several articles published in both HUB and Fresh-Ink, the HUB was special.  It was The Hub of the then neophyte Citizen Journalist experiment.  I realize the cost, the competition, etc, etc,. precludes what could be, and I wonder if Citizen Journalism was just a fad.  Like Facebook, Twitter and Youtube, CJ has been taken over by advertisers, politicians, special interest groups, non-profits and  big media; everyone with something to sell.  That is not Journalism.  Eventually even the internet will be replaced.  Maybe then we can start over.

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