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Clemons: Reader feedback making us better
David Clemons

It’s been just shy of three months since the newspaper changed hands.

That time has been a whirlwind, with more changes than any one business has a right to expect its employees to implement.

Perhaps the most noteworthy to our readers is the shift to a new printing press. It’s greatly improved our ability to reproduce color advertisements and photographs.

The change had a slight impact on the size of our pages, which made it a natural time to implement a redesign of the newspaper. That was its own big ordeal, but one our editorial team — led by Managing Editor Jackie Gutknecht — pulled off well. The newspaper has a cleaner look now, and I hope it’s easier for you to read.

Still, I get a few questions and comments, and I’ll try to answer them in case you’ve had them yourself.

n I can’t log on to your website even though I’m a subscriber. What gives?

I heard this one a surprising number of times, and we kicked it to the technical support gurus. They seem to have fixed it in the past few days, so our subscribers should have access to read an unlimited number of stories on It’s possible you could run into a problem if you’re trying to read an article linked from our Facebook page, but that’s a Facebook issue, not a Covington News issue. If that happens, click the link to open that page in your phone’s browser instead of inside the Facebook app.

n I’m trying to call your office and can’t reach anybody!

You’re probably a Charter customer, then. We’ve had AT&T look and look at this problem and think we have the culprit narrowed down, and are in the process of getting it resolved.

n Why is there never any good news in the paper?

I would take exception to that premise, but I do kind of understand it. “Bad” news — crime reporting, or stories of a tragedy — tend to get more publicity. They’re shared more widely on Facebook.

When we post a story to social media, we aren’t paying for reach. (I’m cheap.) So, if a story is to go far and wide, it relies on our readers to share it. Its reach also grows as more people comment. And we find time and time again that people are more likely to do that if it’s the kind of story more people consider “bad” news.

I spoke to Kiwanis a couple of weeks ago, and someone asked why a story about students doing bad things at a school gets more reach than when the club honors students with a ton of service hours. My response is, we need to cover both of those. What happens afterward depends entirely on the readers.

I’m particularly proud of the response to our new “Shout Outs” feature. Y’all have responded in a big way when asked to give us some good news or just to say thanks to someone doing good work in your little corner of the world.

n Didn’t you promise to give away a subscription?

I did, and held off on drawing for it because the feedback kept coming in long after my survey was published. But the lucky winner is David Waller. Congratulations, David, and thank you to all who responded. You can keep up the dialogue, though.

n So, what’s next?

In 2018, you’ll see the paper roll out a lot of new products intended to serve readers and advertisers better. Some may be in traditional newspaper form, but I expect the majority will look like magazines.

I know you’ll be blown away by the work this staff does. In three months, I know I have.

David Clemons is the editor and publisher of The Covington News. His email address is Twitter: @covnews.