A New Perspective 4-8-05:

Collier Citizen

April 8, 2005

We’re back in the saddle again. After a short and unexpected ‘vacation,’ my wife and I are returning to the newspaper business with this first edition of The Collier Citizen.
      Like others in the unemployment line, we found ourselves faced with trying to decide what we wanted to be when we “grew up.” We discussed many options, career moves, and had some heartfelt talks regarding what motivates us and gives us strength and satisfaction.
      We decided we’ve been in the newspaper business too long – it’s hard to get the ink out of the blood. During our sabbatical, we met with many people regarding employment opportunities, but one meeting stood out. It was with the publisher and sales director of the Naples Daily News.
      No one came into the meeting with a specific goal in mind other than a genuine discussion on the market opportunities in eastern Collier County.
      We talked about the explosive market in this area and the significant buying power of this suburban marketplace of Naples. We discussed the area’s exploding population relatively untouched by any retail base and the inability of a metropolitan newspaper to adequately meet the area’s needs.
       The dilemma was how to provide the community with its essential “glue news,” such as local stories, social highlights, local sports, and fraternal clubs without boring readers from outside the community. The scope is too narrow for the existing daily format. They found themselves with the same dilemma most other metropolitan newspapers are experiencing, a decline in percentage households reached.
      We also discussed the 300,000 new residents who will be moving to Collier County in the next 20 years. Over 200,000 of those residents will settle east of I-75. Over half of the people currently living in Eastern Collier County moved here less than three years ago. The area needs its own voice to create a sense of identity, community ownership and a place to call “home.”
       Eastern Collier County is a massive residential area with few and limited commercial centers, making it an attractive marketplace for merchants outside of the community. We discussed how to provide an affordable and profitable news product those merchants would be willing to invest in to capture this market.
       That’s what the Citizen is all about. We are an autonomous weekly publication owned by Collier County Publishing Company. This company also owns the Naples Daily News. Collier County Publishing Company is owned by Scripps. Our future offices will be located in the Sweetbay Plaza at Vanderbilt and Collier.
       We want and need to be your hometown weekly newspaper. We need your support in order to do that. We will give coverage to your social events, fundraisers, photos, check presentations, wedding announcements, obituaries, and school spelling bee winners. All you have to do is give us a call (213-6077) or an email (news@colliercitizen.com).
       We will also cover the news events of this growing and changing community, such as municipal water issues, zoning changes and commercial projects, fire district and government news. We also want to hear what you think through letters to the editor.
       We can’t be your paper without your help. Be an informed citizen, read the Collier Citizen.