COM­MU­NITY IM­PACT NEWS­PA­PER EX­PANDS

Newspapers & Technology Magazine - - Contents - ▶ by Mary Rear­don Con­tribut­ing Writer

Com­mu­nity Im­pact News­pa­per, based in Pflugerville, Texas, has launched a num­ber of pa­pers in the last year to bring the chain’s count to 27 pa­pers in to­tal by the end of Septem­ber.

The ex­pand­ing com­pany says it’s re­struc­tured an an­ti­quated model — the com­mu­nity news­pa­per — and “turned it into an es­sen­tial tool by pro­vid­ing read­ers with use­ful, in­for­ma­tive news.”

The free pa­pers fea­tur­ing hy­per­local con­tent have web­sites for daily up­dates and a print edi­tion that’s mailed once a month to area read­ers. The pa­pers are al­most 100 per­cent ad­ver­tis­ing driven, says Com­mu­nity Im­pact News­pa­per co- owner John Gar­rett.

Re­cent l aunches cover Lewisville, Flower Mound and High­land Vil­lage, in the Dal­las-Fort Worth metro; New Braun­fels, Texas; Clear Lake, League City and Nas­sau Bay, in the Hous­ton metro area; and most re­cently Richard­son, in the Dal­las-Fort Worth metro area; and Gil­bert, Ari­zona, in the Phoenix metro area.

Own­ers John and Jen­nifer Gar­rett started the first edi­tion of Com­mu­nity Im­pact News­pa­per in 2005 with three full-time em­ploy­ees cov­er­ing Round Rock and Pflugerville. The com­pany has no other in­vestors, John Gar­rett says. Un­like some out­lets with a hy­per­local fo­cus, the com­pany doesn’t rely on free­lancers, but on a staff of some 50 jour­nal­ists and ed­i­tors, Gar­rett says.

The com­pany opened a $10 mil­lion print­ing fa­cil­ity in 2016 next to its Pflugerville head­quar­ters. Jen­nifer Gar­rett’s in­te­rior de­sign back­ground was put to use in the com­pany’s workspace de­signs, so jour­nal­ists used to dusty old news­rooms might be sur­prised at what they see.

The com­pany’s news­pa­per model stresses use­ful news and a se­ri­ous com­mit­ment to graphic de­sign and rich in­fo­graph­ics, says John Gar­rett, who spent time on the busi­ness side at the Hous­ton Chron­i­cle and the Austin Busi­ness Jour­nal. “The qual­ity of the de­sign re­ally shines,” he says.

The com­pany aims t o com­pete with “t he Googles and the Face­books,” John Gar­rett says.

Its re­cent launch in Richard­son, Texas, rep­re­sents the com­pany’s sixth edi­tion in the Dal­las/ Fort Worth area.

“The res­i­dents and busi­ness own­ers of Richard­son de­serve to have some­one cov­er­ing their city in a way that is un­bi­ased and in­for­ma­tive,” said Christal Howard, the com­pany’s Dal­las/Fort Worth pub­lisher. “We be­lieve not just in cov­er­ing the im­por­tant, newsworthy hap­pen­ings; we be­lieve in show­ing up. You’ll see us all around town and at city coun­cil and school board meet­ings. It’s a re­spon­si­bil­ity we are hum­bled to take on and don’t take lightly.”

John and Jen­nifer Gar­rett at the launch party for com­mu­nity Im­pact News­pa­per's edi­tion in New Braun­fels, Texas. Photo: Com­mu­nity Im­pact News­pa­per

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