The next 15 years

By Shari Jo Sorchych | February 17, 2010

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shari joAs Sonoran News enters its 17th year as part of our readership community, now covering Cave Creek, Carefree, Scottsdale and north Phoenix, we pause to celebrate and look ahead.

Having been founded as a community watchdog, Sonoran News is by nature, unpopular with ‘watchees’ if they receive publicity they’d rather not have brought to light. To honor our mission, that is a cross we bear. We keep you informed and let you see how your tax dollars are being spent. During the current economic situation – when tax dollars are scarce and the demands on them increased – that’s important.

Although these economic times are difficult we are all of vital importance and value to one another – an incredible community support system.

Sonoran News has been on a mission to help ensure the survival and success of the local economy through promoting local businesses and events that draw visitors to our area, investing advertising dollars in the community and protecting local jobs.

We were vital in bringing Walmart to Cave Creek to stabilize our sales tax revenue base over the coming years, a necessary shift from development impact fees of the last decade or two.

Arizona’s statewide daily paper serves a purpose as do the little monthly shoppers but the local businesses, and especially the mom and pop businesses, can best reach their customers through their local weekly community newspaper.

One of our favorite topics is the youth in our community. They are the future of our community if we work together to protect the values, ethics and lifestyle choices that drew all of the people here who now call this home. Our youth stand out as individuals in groups from theater and arts to sports and academics to volunteerism and entrepreneurship.

Although space does not allow me to introduce and talk about our amazing staff (stay tuned) I must make mention of a very special lady who walked into our office several months ago. Her mission was clear: “I’d like to volunteer here because I plan to attend the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism at ASU and the newspaper experience will be valuable to me.” We are blessed to have Weslie Swift with us. She is incredibly bright, eternally optimistic and has the most positive attitude you will ever experience. Don recently told her mother, Mindy, (who home-schools her children), “Weslie lights up the place when she walks in the door.” You will soon see her byline on articles about Fiesta Days and more. Weslie’s mom and parents like her across the nation deserve resounding applause for their efforts to raise children who think for themselves and do not blindly follow the liberal agenda put forth by our school system.

The Sonoran News staff works seamlessly together every week to produce a community newspaper that allows all of you to communicate with one another through the pages of the paper and on That’s what we do.

Sonoran News also supports the arts community, vibrant and growing in the local area. We create a special section to highlight Sonoran Arts League’s “Hidden in the Hills” tour through the homes of member artists in the area and publish a regular Art News feature section.

Desert Foothills Land Trust has merged with Black Mountain Conservancy. It is a local non-profit organization with a mission to preserve Black Mountain and other vital lands. Sonoran News co-sponsors the annual Black Mountain Photo Contest to raise awareness of the need for preservation and also to raise funds to support the effort.

Tragedy occasionally befalls every community. Our readership knows they can count on Sonoran News to publicize benefits, fund-raisers, and other events that help individuals and families when tragedy strikes.

There is so much pride in having been crucial in the success of saving The Spur Cross Recreation and Conservation Area, completion of the trails and the current effort to preserve 5,000 acres of open space.

Keeping Cave Creek, Cave Creek is an ongoing Sonoran News effort – to preserve the desert rural, equestrian lifestyle chosen by our residents. Sonoran News has always been a supporter of the equestrian community – Fiesta Days, Wild West Days, all of the equine (and pet) rescues in the state and more.

Helping to ensure a citizen-responsive, transparent form of government in Carefree is one of the most vital public services we have provided over the last few years. Every citizen of Carefree deserves to vote from an informed position on the issues facing the town.

Sonoran News weighed in on the Scottsdale elections and the Publisher Picks were validated by the voters. We have been on target and in tune with Scottsdale voters on all issues.

Sonoran News devotes considerable space to non-profit groups every week. They make our community a better place through their work with all of us.

Sonoran News is a good neighbor with a good conscience and a strong community service voice.

We provide a forum for expression, allowing readers to have a voice and enabling members of our community to openly discuss the future of our community. Our readership is comprised of many different segments and we hear from many of you each week via personal visits, phone calls, e-mails, Your Views, Letters to the Editor and Guest Editorials.
We are sincerely gratified knowing we make a positive difference in your lives because of the kudos, thanks and appreciation we receive every week.

Our readership has grown and changed over the last 16 years. Our voices have changed – both that of our community and Sonoran News.

We strive on a continuing basis to reflect the community of which we are a part. As we look forward to the next 15 years, no one can tell us what that looks like. Our goal is that in addition to all of the readers we now hear from regularly we encourage those of you with whom we’ve not yet had an ongoing conversation to share with us your vision of Sonoran News in the coming years.

You’ve undoubtedly noticed we are expanding our presence online.

For example, the survey now asks a new question every week. The results from the previous week are printed in the front page survey box along with the new question.

Many of you have asked for book reviews, so we’ve launched Book Nook. There will be a constant flow of new titles and the most recent reviews will remain for a time.

The community calendar, formerly about 400 words due to page layout restrictions, now includes much more information. Eventually you won’t have to scroll through it because we’ll tie it to a visual calendar.

Our advertisers already know: is a hit! With a weekly average of over 35,000 page views, our advertisers have an even stronger partner to help grow their businesses by reaching nearly 9,000 more people every week.

Not only are there opportunities for Home Page, Editorial Page and ‘you name your page’ ads … for those advertisers who, by the nature of their business, need or want to change things more often than every four weeks, we have HUB ads.

Each week when you check out what’s happening on The HUB you’ll find special deals, offers, events, sales, open houses and coupons – whatever our very creative advertisers can think up!

You’ll be seeing a lot about The HUB in Sonoran News print edition too. We’ll keep you abreast of what’s happening each week on the Business Page (A-3).

Sonoran News and will continue to provide the public service of helping connect people. I look forward to hearing from you. Find me on FaceBook.