They talked and we mostly listened. This past Friday, we invited a group of Record readers to our office to discuss the many changes that have been made in the paper in recent years. We wanted to know how they feel about those changes and what they would like to see more of in the Record and on our website at KendallCountyNow.com.
In general, our readers told us, they had a difficult time adjusting to the changes that occurred in the Record a few years ago. The format of the paper was different, they said, and things weren’t as easy to find. They lamented seeing less local family news such as engagements, weddings and anniversary photos in the paper. However, they did say they’ve mostly adapted to the changes and have come to like some of the features we’ve added such as our weekly “Go” events feature, our puzzle page and Mystery Diner – though one reader suggested the restaurant reports read too much like an advertisement.
They also said they follow us on Facebook, look forward to receiving our free Kendall County news updates every weekday morning in their emails and our free Kendall County government newsletter on Thursdays. They also check out our website for news updates throughout the week.
The readers made several worthwhile suggestions, including starting a “hidden gems” feature to highlight some of programs and places that make Kendall County such an great place to live, and voiced support for starting a community events page. They also provided us with some names of local groups and organizations that they believe we should be covering more. Citing the current state of discord across the nation, they encouraged us to write more feature articles that highlight the many local residents who are doing things to uplift the community.
In response, we told the readers that we are working to try and improve the paper while always keeping it local. We reminded them that we continue to invite local civic, church and nonprofit groups to send us their press releases while also once again offering to print for free wedding, anniversary and engagement photos and announcements. (Please feel free to send those to us at email@example.com)
As a Record staff member for the past 37 years, I was heartened to hear just how much our readers care about the paper and how much they look forward to finding it in their mailboxes every Thursday. It was also encouraging to hear just how much these print readers have come to look for our news coverage on our website and on social media.
It was great to talk to this group of Record readers, but our gathering was just a small sample size. I would like to continue the conversation with all of you. What do you think of the changes we’ve made in the paper over the past few years? What do you miss? What stories and features should we add? Please let me know your thoughts on these and any other issues concerning the Record by emailing me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Let’s continue this conservation!
• John Etheredge is editor of the Record Newspapers.