Foster: Taking stock of how you shape us
Just shy of nine months ago, I set foot in my office as the co-director of the Southeast Express Newspaper Exploratory Committee. My task was to get to know Southeast Colorado Springs and determine whether a newspaper would be viable for and welcomed in the community.
It took me all of about 15 minutes in the neighborhood to reach the conclusion that, yup, this area was hungry to tell its story.
That was Sept. 17, 2018, and what a fun, amazing, eye-opening, sometimes-exhausting trip it has since been. We went from nothing to newspaper in 90 days. You welcomed me into your worlds, your businesses, your hearts, your homes.
We produced a prototype and two editions, each bigger and (we hope) better than the previous. And our third edition is a whopping 32 pages chock-full of news, analysis, information and advertisements, and fun stuff to help you decide how to work, play and live in Southeast this summer.
We truly want to be the newspaper of, for and by Southeast Colorado Springs.
We made some changes and have some big plans based on what you told us you want to see. For a few months, we worked with cadets from the Air Force Academy to conduct a readership survey and get a taste of what you’re craving.
The biggest takeaway so far has been that you want more Express, more often. So we’re forging ahead with our vision of being a monthly publication, perhaps as early as the last quarter of this year! That means twice as many editions will be coming your way in 2020, as we gear up and grow toward becoming your fully fledged weekly newspaper of record.
We also asked you what type of content you want to see in your more-frequent Southeast Express. Far and away, you told us you want to read stories about interesting people in your neighborhood. Well guess what? At heart, all great stories are human, so yes, you will get more of that.
In this issue alone, we have an interview with the new chief of police (who, incidentally, grew up in the heart of Southeast); a Southeast resident and businesswoman who won the chance to turn her holistic wellness vision into a neighborhood gym; and an area instructor whose love of music helped him overcome incredible childhood trauma and who now inspires students to creatively express themselves. You will also hear from the folks who are working on the front lines to rewrite public safety in our neighborhood, from the commander of our local police precinct, and from a former NFL player who now trains Southern Colorado athletes and entrepreneurs alike.
We think all these folks are interesting, and we believe you will too.
You asked us to keep improving our comprehensive community calendar, so this time around we are including five weeks’ worth of exciting events. We are also pumping up our digital version by updating it daily and including links to many of our events, so you can share your happenings and get the details you need in real time.
You called for more news from City Hall, the county boardroom, the classroom and the state Capitol. For that, we’re going straight to the sources. Check out an op-ed from our own state Rep. Tony Exum, as he brings us up to speed on what happened in the state legislature’s recent session and how it’s going to impact Southeast. And since school’s out for summer, we’re talking with local leaders about how to help your students avoid the brain drain.
That’s just some of what you will find in our June-July edition. It’s all based on what you have told us you do — and don’t — want to see.
But, like summertime students, that doesn’t mean we’re done learning. Our survey is still up and running at surveymonkey.com. And, of course, if digital communication isn’t your thing, feel free to drop by, pick up the phone or send us a note in the mail.
We take your feedback seriously, and we truly want to be the newspaper of, for and by Southeast Colorado Springs. Please continue sharing your thoughts, your ideas, your voices, and let’s keep this Express train rolling.
Contact Southeast Express Editor and General Manager Regan Foster at (719) 578-2802 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Share your opinions
The Southeast Express reader survey is up and running at Surveymonkey.com. Please take a moment or two of your time to share your thoughts on how we can make the Express truly the best possible paper of, for and by Southeast Colorado Springs.