The CDT asked for your feedback, and hundreds of readers responded. Here’s what’s next

A pile of the reader survey from the Centre Daily Times.
A pile of the reader survey from the Centre Daily Times. adrey@centredaily.com

One thing became clear very quickly after our recent reader survey appeared on our website and in print: CDT readers have a lot to say.

And you should. The CDT is your community newspaper, and as many of you noted, you’ve been with us for years, sometimes decades. Nearly 62 percent of online survey respondents said they read the CDT daily, and for most of our readers that’s not just the newspaper or centredaily.com. You also engage with us on our social media platforms, through our app, e-edition and daily newsletters.

Going through the responses — 270 online and 168 in print — has been insightful. It’s going to take some time to fully analyze the results, but there are some clear trends. You don’t all agree on your favorite comics, but you all want local news, and more of it.

That’s what we want, too. It’s no secret that we’re doing that now with fewer resources. Many of you have commended the full coverage of the investigative report on the death of Osaze Osagie, which filled the front page of our May 9 edition. That front page represented everyone on our news staff — a small but mighty team of journalists who work tirelessly, especially when it’s most important to our community. Strategizing how to best use our resources is a daily conversation in our newsroom, and it requires us to think creatively.

Some of you mentioned the need for more reporters. I’m excited to announce that a talented journalist, Marley Parish, will be joining us June 3. She’ll cover a beat we call “how is my local government helping or hurting me?” that will examine what’s happening in municipalities across Centre County. Additionally, two interns from Penn State join us this summer, Alexis Teny and James Krueger.

Our sports coverage, as many of you noted, has changed drastically over the past couple of years. Our Penn State football and wrestling coverage is read across the nation, but highlighting the accomplishments of our student-athletes is essential to our community. We’re focused on how to bring more diverse, local content to our sports pages.

And then there are things that we can’t change. Respondents to the online survey had much to say about our business model of limiting the number of stories that can be read without an online subscription. But please consider this: Every story we publish is its own product. Sometimes that product takes hours; sometimes it’s weeks or months. It includes not just the reporter’s time and effort, but that of the visual journalist, editor and, in some cases, journalists within our parent company, McClatchy. And while we love what we do, we do not work for free.

Why would you pay to read something you can get anywhere else? Good question. That’s why we strive for the content that you can’t get elsewhere. The deep dives into issues like rural broadband access, what weather trends mean for fish and local streams, potential deforestation due to development. The news that we break, such as Tommy Stevens leaving the Nittany Lions and an apartment complex fire that displaced residents. The “news you can use,” about construction projects, business openings, events and more. All those stories take committed, hard working journalists who are connected to their community. They also take support from our readers, and I hope you’ll consider supporting local journalism with a print or digital subscription.

One of my favorite survey comments came from reader Darlene Chivers, who wrote of the CDT: “I really can’t conduct my life well without it.” We want to be essential to the community, and your input is an important piece in helping us define what that means.

On Friday, May 31, I’ll host the first monthly meet-the-CDT event from 9-10 a.m. at Cool Beans in Bellefonte. Reporter Sarah Paez and I will be there to hear your comments, story ideas and suggestions, or to just say hello.

We’re looking forward to meeting you.