Happy New Year. Last month we sent out a community feedback survey. Thank you to everyone who took the time to fill it out; the responses have been incredibly helpful. We’re going to leave it up online, so if you haven’t sent feedback please take a few minutes to do so. We want to write on the topics that the community wants to read and the survey is one way that helps us know which topics to cover. Based on the responses and other feedback we’ve received in the past year, I wanted to share a few thoughts about improvements we’re planning:
- Coverage on elected officials. You’ll start seeing more updates directly from your elected officials, such as Councilwoman Sandoval last month and RTD Director Angie Malpiede in this issue. We’ll also start including more specific information about how your local elected officials are voting on more pieces of legislation.
- More small business profiles. While we have been trying to highlight one or two small businesses (or nonprofits) each issue, numerous people wrote in asking for more. We hope to include more, smaller write ups or write ups that cover a commercial corridor in order to include information on more small businesses (both new and old) in North Denver.
- More on zoning changes, development, etc. at the proposal level before they happen. This month we have the Near Northwest Neighborhood Plan that’s just beginning and coverage on a proposed design overlay. We’ll keep doing more. This month both were fairly North, next month we’re looking towards Sloan’s Lake and Colfax.
- Crime coverage. While we’ve done prevention tips and such, this is an area we haven’t done as much in the past; we received several suggestions on more crime coverage and we are planning on including more in the future.
- Expanding education coverage. While the holidays and winter break made additional coverage about North Denver schools hard for this issue, we hope to bring you more information about more schools in future issues.
- On the lighter side, we had requests to expand our “people making a difference” series highlighting North Denver residents giving back to the community and for more community profiles in general. We also had requests for more historical pieces.
Certainly that wasn’t everything, but those were some of the most common suggestions. For everyone who sent specific story ideas or suggestions you don’t see above, please know I am reading every comment that comes in (positive and negative). We hope to incorporate as many of your suggestions as we can. While we want to do more of everything too, we’re mostly limited by the pages of each issue which is dependent on advertising, so as we gain new advertisers we hope to expand to 20 and then maybe 24 pages each month. Our team really appreciates the kind words and the constructive criticism that helps us improve. As we grow our team, we are working to ensure diversity that reflects North Denver: age, gender, ethnicity, and background.
A few other things of note:
- We’ve had a few questions about expanding geographically. Our current door to door delivery is West of I-25, North of Colfax to the Denver borders with some newspaper racks in surrounding areas. While we’re flattered being asked to deliver to more communities, we’re already the biggest monthly community paper based in Denver; if we grow too large we lose our hyperlocal focus and costs become too high. We are, however, supporting similar efforts in neighboring communities looking at their own publications.
- While we had no plans to change to an all digital format, we did receive love for print and numerous asks not to get rid of the print paper. 77% of respondents said they read the print edition almost exclusively with another 14% splitting between print and digital. Rest assured we’re staying a print publication and, while we hope to improve our website, our main focus is, and will be, print.
- Community events. Prior to last spring, we printed a community calendar in each issue. When the pandemic started and events were canceled or had to change on the fly, we kept our online calendar which let us add and make changes more quickly. You said you want the print version back and so do we. As the pandemic subsides and there are more events with more lead time, we plan on printing a more robust community calendar again. In the meantime, we hope you check out the online calendar.
- 91% of respondents rated The Denver North Star’s quality as above average. 93% said they find our news coverage to be impartial and fair. Thank you for your trust in us. While those scores are A’s, we want to be an A+ and will continue to strive to do better.
Thank you also to everyone who signed up to become a member or otherwise donated during our December fundraising drive. With your support, we met our goal and are receiving a $5000 grant that will help make up lost ad revenue from last year.
Here’s to a better 2021 than 2020 for all of us. Thank you for reading.