Redefining local news consumption: Community Impact unveils ‘CI Simple’ content strategy, new growth
Community Impact, the largest local news source in Texas with over 40 editions and a
distribution of 2.5 million mailboxes, will undergo two transformations this fall.
A new era for Community Impact
Over the course of 2023, Community Impact’s editorial and design leaders have been working
toward an innovative new content and design strategy called CI Simple.
Introducing CI Simple
CI Simple is more than just a fresh coat of paint; it’s a complete overhaul of Community Impact’s
newspaper product. Each page has been meticulously analyzed and adjusted to confirm topics
are relevant and information is presented in a concise and easily digestible format.
“Community Impact is still doubling down on its print product—a strategy many other news
organizations aren't focused on,” Content Director Marie Leonard said. “By taking this new CI
Simple approach into account, we'll be better able to serve our readers for decades to come.”
In an age of busy lives and ever-shortening attention spans, CI Simple addresses the demands
of modern readers. Today, new information is accessible at the swipe of a thumb—but at CI, we
still hear from readers there’s nothing quite like holding and reading local news straight from
“The best reporting isn't successful unless it's consumed and understood by its readers, and we
hope CI Simple helps more readers in the areas we serve connect with their communities than
ever before,” Senior Managing Editor Matt Stephens said.
Streamlined and impactful
● With CI Simple, articles will be more concise and direct—our reporters know every word
● Readers will see more subheads (called Impactisms) and bullet points to easily consume
● CI’s designers are focused on larger visuals and are committed to using photography to
help tell the story.
At first glance, readers will notice CI’s revamped front-page strategy. Each month, they will see
an eye-catching photo or graphic alongside a story that truly matters to them and their
“A picture is worth 1,000 words is a cliche for a reason—because it's true,” Senior Art
Production Manager Kaitlin Schmidt said. “From my years being in the field working for
community news outlets, I know from talking with people that seeing themselves and their
neighbors reflected in the paper made them feel more proud, curious and connected.”
“As you read through the pages, the design should naturally lead your eye to the important
information first,” Creative Director Derek Sullivan said. “Our goal was a design that is simple
yet engaging, plenty of white space and great use of color.”
Inside our pages, we’re introducing exciting new sections, including CI Foodie—catering to
culinary enthusiasts, as well as locals interested in trying new restaurants—plus CI Texas, which
is packed with news that resonates across the state.
The redesign hits mailboxes across Texas in September. Community Impact will continue to
refine the newspaper product each month in line with its Innovation Value. eaders are poised to
see other big improvements during the company’s annual guide months.
What’s next for Community Impact?
CI continues to expand across Texas, including a new digital-first, print-later model in Bastrop
called CI Light. The new market will debut with a free email newsletter and website, prior to
delivering printed newspapers to all residents in spring 2024.
“For our Bastrop launch we decided to flip our expansion strategy on its head and test a
digital-first model we are calling CI Light,” Group Publisher Traci Rodriguez said. “We love a
good double entendre—CI Light means we want to shine a light on a new community with
high-quality, local journalism while also making a lighter investment using digital platforms to
build our brand and make connections in the community, serving as a foundation for the CI
printed edition to follow.”
Bastrop city officials first visited Community Impact headquarters several years ago, shortly after
the company opened its new printing facility. They shared information about their booming
community, their need for news coverage, and even listed preliminary advertiser support they
had gained, knowing CI relies on this as opposed to traditional paid subscriptions. Fast-forward
to 2023, and the Bastrop CI Light edition is launching with the following eight Founding
● First National Bank of Bastrop
● Bastrop ISD
● Roscoe Bank
● The Colony
● Bastrop Chamber of Commerce
● Visit Bastrop
● The Nitsche Group
● City of Bastrop
“Our award-winning newsletters are loved by thousands of readers across Texas. From
education and government to events and restaurant openings, the CI Morning Impact has
everything locals need to know on a daily basis, presented in a fun and easy-to-read format,”
Community Impact’s Digital Manager Morgan O’Neal said. “I’m thrilled Bastrop residents will
soon be able to start their weekdays feeling informed on the issues that matter most to them,
and have unlimited access to unbiased news at their fingertips.”
Expansions in 2024
Community Impact has already announced its second CI Light market in the San Antonio Metro,
and the organization is looking for more cities across Texas like Bastrop with a need for local
journalism and proof of local businesses ready to support through advertising.