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Cityview to make changes but will continue to educate, entertain — and sometimes irritate

7/27/2016

For nearly 25 years, Cityview has brought unique news and information to the residents and visitors of central Iowa. We are making changes to ensure that this continues to happen for another 25.

First launched in 1992 by Connie Wimer, Cityview experienced a number of changes based on the many personalities she employed. Wimer deserves the credit for having the courage to bring this new style of journalism to Des Moines and to provide opportunities to a herd of young people. Some of her efforts were successful. Some weren’t. But through it all, Cityview was known to educate, entertain and sometimes irritate its readers as an agent of change for the Des Moines community. This newspaper pushed the envelope — sometimes too far, sometimes not far enough. Its goal, from the beginning, was to be a true alternative newsweekly, providing a voice that was far different than any mainstream options. Competitors came and went, but Cityview remained.

I convinced my bosses, local newspaper veterans Gary Gerlach and Michael Gartner, to buy Cityview from Wimer in 2004. We had been publishing a struggling weekly that competed with Cityview, and the purchase made sense. I bought the majority of the stock in 2006, and Gartner continued as a partner. I bought out his stock in 2015 and became the sole shareholder. I have now been involved with Cityview for half its life, and Cityview is an integral part of who I am and vice versa. Readers and advertisers tell me they sometimes don’t agree with items we allow to publish in Cityview. I tell them I don’t always either, but that this unique content is what keeps readers coming back for more. And come back you have.

This unique content included the expansion of news to cover more politics, crime, music, film, theater, sports, television, technology, books, dining and nightlife. We added respected editorial contributors from the local scene including Michael Gartner, Brian Duffy, Herb Strentz and Douglas Burns. We cultivated new talent like Chad Taylor, Patrick Boberg, Jeff Pitts and John Domini. We continued publishing the amazing contributions from longtime Cityview writers like Jim Duncan, and I added an experienced editor and trusted friend, Darren Tromblay, to manage the editorial processes. We created a comprehensive website with unique content, and we added sneak preview email blasts, Twitter feeds, Facebook pages and other social media efforts. We launched phenomenal events like Best of Des Moines, Brewfest and Martini Fest. But we didn’t slight our print publication in the process. Instead, we added more pages, more circulation and more photos, printing it all in full color on each page. And, we experienced the best pickup percentage (97 percent) and largest number of weekly readers (more than 70,000 per week) the newspaper has ever had.

Times have changed in the past 25 years, and they most certainly will continue to do so. We know that readers want even more of our alternative style of reporting, but we also recognize that advertisers’ needs are changing. They want glossy paper stock. They want to reach higher-income demographics. They want digital editions and social media connections. And they don’t see the need to advertise on a weekly basis like they once did. With advertising as our sole source of revenue, we need to do all we can to accommodate these needs, or we won’t survive the next 25 years. As a result, this is our last weekly issue of Cityview, and you will see a new and improved monthly edition on the stands and online starting Aug. 11. It will continue to have much of the content you have come to know and love, but it will also have a number of new features and will be printed on glossy and high-bright stock paper, in a larger format, with more pages — in both print and digital formats.

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All of us at Cityview look forward to continuing to serve you for years to come. And don’t worry — we will continue to educate, entertain and sometimes irritate. CV

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