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The Rapid City Journal is changing for the better.

You can't grow without change, and I want to see the Journal become an even bigger part of the communities in the Black Hills than ever before. One of the first changes we made this year was adding a new magazine, Black Hills Business. As a board member for Elevate, I saw the need for a magazine to highlight the great stories of the business community in this region. New and existing business stories are an important part of every newspaper, but the magazine format allows us another avenue to tell those stories.

We hope you have noticed some of the other changes we have made so far. We think you will like some of the things we have planned.

Since January, there has been a big effort to improve the interior and exterior of our building at 507 Main St. Clutter has been hauled away. Walls have been painted. We have even completed a few small renovation projects in breakrooms and patios. The most obvious change is our new and improved lobby. I hope all of our readers come by and see everything we have done so far. We even have free coffee and popcorn for our guests. All of these changes made us a better neighbor in the downtown area and improved the working conditions for our employees.

Thanks to a great response in the past several months, advertising in the Journal is expanding. We appreciate our local business partners for trusting us to deliver their advertising messages in print and online.

I also want to remind the community that we are a one-stop shop for all of your digital needs. We design, advertise and work on websites, and almost anything digital. We are no longer a newspaper, we are a multi-media company.

The continued increase in advertising and digital work will mean more changes for the readers as we expand our newspapers to increase the amount of local news we deliver every day. Please let our advertisers know you appreciate them. I know I do.

Beyond giving the newsroom more space to fill, we are changing some of the ways that content is delivered. Instead of seven Opinion pages each week, we are cutting that back to four. The other pages will be used for more local news. This will limit the number of out-of-state editorials and opinion columns we run while preserving plenty of space for local editorials, columns, guest opinion pieces and letters to the editor.

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This change does more than cut back items that aren't produced in Rapid City. It also frees up our staff to write more local stories and gives them more space to run them.

We know our readers don't just want local news and opinion, though. Cartoons have been an important part of community newspapers for generations. We are adding back three popular cartoons that were dropped in the past.

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Dilbert, Peanuts and Pickles are all coming back to the Journal seven days a week. There will be a few small changes to make room for the new cartoons and make sure all advice columns are still included on the Advice page each day.

You will continue to see changes in sports, for I have asked my editorial staff not to forget about our local sports teams. From little league to the Rush, the Journal is going to be at as many events as possible. These are our teams.

Your local newspaper is growing online and in print. I am proud that our printed newspaper reaches 25,000 to 35,000 people each day and we have over 4.5 million page views a month coming from 500,000 unique visitors. The Journal has more readers than ever before.

We are your neighbors, friends and family. We are your local newspaper. Thank you for inviting us into your home each day, either in print and/or online. We appreciate it. We could not do it without our loyal readers.

I am excited to hear what you think about the changes we are making. We are far from finished. In order to grow, you have to be willing to change. We will always strive to improve the coverage we provide and the way we bring it to you. Please feel free to call me at 605-394-8301 or email me at matthew.tranquill@rapidcityjournal.com

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Kent Bush is the editor of the Rapid City Journal.

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