The numbers are piling up at the Rio Rancho Observer and not in a bad way.
Our efforts to increase web traffic have been wildly successful, which bodes well for the print version of the newspaper.
For those who don’t know, the reason we are driving the online version is to save the print version of the newspaper. On its own, the print version has been a bit sluggish. It’s not just here, but nationwide.
Newspapers in print have lost some of their attraction. That includes the big boys, the papers in major metropolitan markets.
So far, we have more than doubled the online version, and when we need to break something daily, we put it online. That means really, in addition to getting the weekly print version, those who want their news earlier can go to our website.
Plus, the print version has limitations: space. Whereas online, the space is limitless.
Web numbers three months ago were about 40,000 views a month. Today, they’re at 87,000 views a month. That’s a big jump in just three months.
It means people are reading us online. And it means we can sell advertising online, which helps our print version.
We have added correspondents.
Among them is Maureen Cooke, a Corrales resident who now covers Corrales, the Rio Rancho Governing Body and planning and zoning. She’s an experienced reporter, having worked for newspapers in California, and holds a master’s degree in creative writing. Her byline has already appeared in the Observer.
Holly Bird, a comedienne and writer, will cover entertainment, as well as, with her husband Jason, write a weekly brew column.
Bonnie Dismore, expert photographer and videographer, covers entertainment at the Rio Rancho Events Center and other stories.
Daniel Zuniga covers just about everything, especially martial arts as a practitioner of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu himself. But he also covers business and features.
We are adding correspondents as we go along, as well as areas that we cover. We are working on getting writers from Placitas and Bernalillo. If you are looking to write a bit for a newspaper, contact Garrison Wells, executive editor, at [email protected]
We have also revamped our advisory board.
It now includes some Millennials, which is why you are seeing a change in what we cover. We want to get younger readers, and they read on their phones mostly, which is where we get the bulk of our readers.
We have also found that women read us more than men by a slight margin, so have added more women to our board, including Clemy Garza, the co-owner of Rio Rancho MacDonald’s restaurants and a savvy businesswoman.
As for our other board members:
- Jerry Schalow runs the Rio Rancho Regional Chamber of Commerce.
- David Garcia is an events specialist and has set up and run events for the Kansas City Chiefs and the Albuquerque Journal.
- Victoria Stark-Romero is a faculty member at CNM, where she teaches about information systems, and is our digital expert.
- Zuniga, who writes for us, is a coordinator of the before- and after-school program at Joe Harris Elementary.
- Cheryl Everett is a former Rio Rancho city councilor.
- Rod Arnold is senior vice president and COO of Albuquerque Publishing Co., which operates the Albuquerque Journal.
- Wanda Moeller is the Albuquerque Publishing Co. advertising director.
Thanks to them all. We have the experts. Now we just have to make it work.
Check the web version out at rrobserver.com and feel free to comment on what you see as our progress, or lack thereof.
Email comments to [email protected] Or send letters to Garrison Wells, 409 NM Hwy 528 NE, Suite 101, Rio Rancho, NM 87124.
We appreciate comments, good or bad. In the long run, this is your newspaper.