We have gained a fair number of new regular readers over this challenging year, so we thought a quick review of where it’s taken us at 5enses would be in order to point up what you might have missed.
While pretty much everyone is glad that seemingly decade-long 2020 is now safely behind us, in many its fear and foment triggered increased interest in news both national and local. At the same time conditions have made it harder for nonprofits and businesses to do events and get their messages out, which made local print advertising more important.
Those trends have both been good for us, and we’d like to see them continue once the alarm bells stop ringing (will they ever?). Your editors made some time to consider the outstanding work of our 5enses staff and contributors in this hair-on-fire year that have attracted more readers and advertisers.
Making it work
As the pandemic effects were closing in on our county, it gave a boost of urgency to the expansion plans we’d been working on for the 5enses organization.
In March we announced the premiere of The 5enses Webcast with producer Robert Zinni, bringing face-to-face (or mask-to-mask) interviews of local artists, activists and opinion leaders to your home and mobile devices, including candidate and now Senator Mark Kelly.
This is part of a broader push for online presence for 5enses in the 21st-century media landscape. Instrumental in this have been our Webtech Sylvia Wauters and Online Editor Lesley Aine McKeown working to build out our website and social-media offerings. Besides just allowing us to be where your eyes are, this opened new possibilities for more immediate, newsier content that’s been important to readers this year. As it has for nearly every business, ‘adaptation’ has been our watchword in serving our community.
The editorial changes we’ve been making over the last couple of years are paying off in attracting new voices to our roster of skilled regular writers, with engaging columns covering lifestyles, science and entertainment.
Chef Molly Beverly has been digging in to present exciting possibilities to the many of us who find ourselves doing more home cooking, and over the summer Lesley offered help in growing that food in your home garden. Stan Bindell and Russ Chappel focus on our area’s many opportunities for outdoor pursuits. Adam England’s backyard-astronomy features became especially pertinent as families looked for new ways to engage together. Erica Ryberg’s new column will be exploring ways for you to better understand your relationship with money matters. Elaine Jordan joins our old friend Alan Dean Foster with insightful and personal observations about people and life.
The year’s events created a lot of noise, and our writers rose to the challenge of helping you make sense of it all.
On the always knotty issue of water we heard from Chuck Budinger in February, Joe Trudeau in March and Councilwoman Cathey Rusing in December with informative, empowering perspectives on how we're growing and the challenges ahead.
We built two expanded issues for deeper coverage of the Voices and Votes exhibit at the Library (July) and the centennial of the 19th Amendment and national votes for women (August), including profiles of local women leaders.
Toni Denis provided outstanding coverage of high-profile local election issues, particularly how poor media literacy contributed to the September confrontation on the Square in our October edition, and the continuing controversy over the new county justice center in September and December.
As the election drew near Lesley worked hard to better inform us all with rock-solid information about local election processes and how to vote.
Early on in the pandemic, when confusion reigned, our team put extra effort into using 5ensesmag.com to help disseminate the reliable information everyone needed from authoritative community voices to help us cope, under the banner Prescott Endures. The very positive response from readers has sparked ideas about how we can continue to serve the community outside the bounds of our monthly paper deadlines.
A new look
Speaking of paper, regular readers may have noticed that we upgraded our paper stock in September as we rolled out our new subscription program, providing home delivery by mail. The whiter paper brightens up our graphics and improves readability as we roll out a new page-design concept for 2021. We hope you like it.
Finally I have to mention Russ Miller’s Stink Bug, who through this unsavory year has made an awful lot of friends for a crusty, smelly old shellback. Good work, Stinky!
We hope you’ll check out 5ensesmag.com for these stories or just to browse our columns and features, and let us know what you think we did right in 2020 at email@example.com.