“Enjoy articles about where people are now; feature articles about local success stories.”
We launched a reader survey a little more than a month ago, and the feedback was specific and clear. We received dozens of replies via mail, in-person drop off and online. And, not officially part of the survey, we get feedback everyday from readers on their likes and dislikes.
It’s obvious, after only three months on the job, how much The Chronicle means to the people of this area. There’s a physical connection, an emotional tie, something tangible. In many cases, it feels like a familial relationship.
That was evident in the survey results.
During the first 90 days of ownership, I’ve focused on three main areas: Our people, our technology and our community.
People: We’ve added staff and reorganized our structure to better utilize our individual talents. We want to cover more local news within Creswell, and from Cottage Grove to Springfield. We’re remodeled the office to make it more welcoming and efficient space.
Technology: We’ve updated software licenses and invested in technology – from computers to more stable internet service. We have better tools now to produce the content the way you want to receive it.
Community: This has been a particularly gratifying and rewarding experience. I’ve been accepted on the Creswell Chamber of Commerce board, I’m joining the Cottage Grove Rotary, I’ve attended Springfield Chamber events, usually with our Sales and Marketing Director, Cheryl Richard. I’ve met with area business and community leaders throughout the area. And have continued to build upon the legacy of public service previous publisher’s have established.
The survey results provide a roadmap forward. Our plan is to integrate the changes by the end of August. These are not earth-shattering changes; we are building upon many of the items you already enjoy and The Chronicle has a history of providing.
There were good suggestions for more “reading” coverage, increased coverage of Cottage Grove Speedway, and area obituaries. In the end, you could put the feedback into three buckets:
People want information when and where they want. That’s a consumer reality across all industries, and it was clear in our survey feedback. We’ll respond to that by offering more access to utilitarian content online, and with more breaking news published between the weekly print editions.
Another key component of live coverage will be the introduction of live, real-time play-by-play coverage of the Creswell High School Bulldogs football team. TheCreswellChronicle.com will offer live play-by-play, post-game box score and summary of the game within minutes. You can now follow our local high school football team’s game – in real time – from anywhere in the world.
We have dedicated more space in the paper and we’ve hired more staff in an effort to enhance stories of local businesses, area volunteers and community leaders, our local government and public safety, education and hyper-local sports.
We’re going to expand our coverage of local artists and musicians, a universal theme in survey feedback.
“Local interest” also meant expanded coverage of Springfield, Cottage Grove and Pleasant Hill, to many readers. I’ve seen the growing business and community partnerships across all of those communities with Creswell.
There are people who will assume I mean “social media” with this category. And it’s true we’re going to revamp our Facebook and Instagram websites to better serve our readers. For The Chronicle, “social” means the same thing as community. We want to help foster social activity in person, supporting the great service organizations and volunteers who truly make our communities tick.
There was heavy interest in local calendars featuring important meetings and events. Not just the marquee events, but gatherings of all sizes throughout the year.