Denny Herzog Column January 04, 2009

Commitment to readers continues at The Daily Sentinel/GJSentinel.com

Alex Taylor, the publisher of The Daily Sentinel/GJSentinel.com in 2008 is, at this writing, taking up residence in his new office at The Palm Beach Post. Certainly it’s warmer there than it is here, and we can all be a little envious as we gaze out over the annual inversion-plagued Grand Valley.

Being the publisher in Palm Beach is not without its problems, just as being the publisher of The Daily Sentinel/GJSentinel.com in 2008 was not without its occasional headache. All of us at The Daily Sentinel/GJSentinel.com feel blessed that Alex was at the helm this past year.

Our story is not news and I won’t spend a lot of time on it. Alex did that in his farewell column a week ago, and it was well-documented in our news and Web pages last year.

We began 2008 with plans for a new facility near the airport. And we were in the final design phase when, in mid-summer, deteriorating business conditions forced a cancellation of those plans.

That was followed just a few weeks later by the announcement from Cox Newspapers Inc., our parent company, that The Daily Sentinel/GJSentinel.com, along with several other newspapers Cox owns in Texas and North Carolina, were on the market.

That is where we find ourselves at the dawn of 2009, as I begin what more than likely will be a short stint at the helm of what is a truly wonderful organization — in spite of the many problems we faced last year.

Our problems aren’t unique, by any means. It’s no secret that the newspaper industry is in the midst of what I, somewhat optimistically, call growing pains as we transition to a new, digital age. That’s why I refer to this organization as not simply The Daily Sentinel, but The Daily Sentinel/GJSentinel.com. Our Web site is as important to us — and to you, we hope — as the printed newspaper that lands on most of the driveways in Mesa County every day, and has for 115 years.

Amid the problems of 2008, and overshadowed by them, was remarkable, unprecedented growth on GJSentinel.com. Unique visitors were up a whopping 34 percent last year. Those are numbers that all of us can be proud of.

Readership of The Daily Sentinel, meanwhile, easily beat the industry average.

All of that is the result of a lot of hard work by the 180 or so people who produce those products, and our good fortune to live in a market that still values newspapers. A colleague last week said that if he had to design the perfect newspaper market for this day and age, it would be the market we all call home.

A lot changed in 2008 and a lot undoubtedly will change in 2009. I don’t know how long it takes to sell a newspaper, but I expect that by the end of the year, The Daily Sentinel/GJSentinel.com will be under new ownership.

But some things don’t change. Of this I am certain: All of us at The Daily Sentinel/GJSentinel.com will do everything we can this year to continue to make our print and digital products valuable partners to our advertisers. We will continue to make sure that every dollar you spend with us is a wise and business-growing investment.

The three dozen writers, editors, photographers, Web developers and artists in the newsrooom will continue to provide readers with the best possible daily diet of news and information.

As always, our commitment to watchdog journalism will be the driving force in the newsroom.

I won’t for a minute claim that we will ever produce the perfect newspaper or the perfect Web site. We haven’t yet. (Nor has anyone else.) But this I will promise you: That is exactly what we will try to do. Every day.

As always, we want to hear from you, our advertisers and readers. Without you we don’t exist.


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