When someone says “65,” what immediately comes to mind? It’s probably not the speed limit on many U.S. highways.
For most of us, 65 is synonymous with retirement—even if for most Americans, Social Security doesn’t fully kick in until months or years later than the 65-year marker (not that I’m envious or anything).
Around the Ruralite offices, “65” has a different meaning—at least in 2019. Ruralite Services, the communications cooperative behind Ruralite magazine, Currents and Florida Currents, turns 65 this year.
Though we do celebrate the occasional employee retirement around here, we’re looking at this milestone anniversary not as an excuse to look backward (at least not much), but as a chance to reflect on ways we can better serve our partner utilities and, you, their consumers.
Close followers of this space already know that in 2018 we conducted our first comprehensive readership survey in many years. That research, the study of national audience trends and feedback from our utility partners and our in-house experts are already informing changes into the look and content of the magazine you are reading right now. You may or may not have noticed our new approach to storytelling, the increased attention we’re paying to digital magazine editions, the introduction of videos that add dimension to our articles and photographs, and a new approach to covers recently.
In 2019, those efforts will accelerate. New initiatives will be added to our already impressive to-do list. High among our priorities is the first extensive redesign of our magazines in about a decade. This effort won’t be the equivalent of a fresh coat of the same color paint on your house. In addition to a more modern and accessible design for the magazines, we’re going to carefully examine our standing features, our columns, story length and how we tell those stories.
The aforementioned research and feedback will be our guide for these changes. Our goal—as always—will be for our cherished readers to continue to be both informed and entertained by the eclectic mix of valuable utility information and stories and columns about your community, friends and neighbors.
Given that the results of our readership survey show most of our content is already amazingly popular, getting readers even more engaged and jazzed about each edition is a tall order. But it is an order our writers, editors and the communications pros at our partner cooperatives, utility districts and other publicly owned utilities are eager to tackle.
These changes come at a time of tremendous change in the energy industry. The advent of new energy sources, the increased attention to how energy production affects the environment and the exciting technologies that offer great promise for more efficient energy use are all topics worth exploring. You’ll be reading more about on these topics on these pages.
Our job, as it has been for the past six-and-half-decades, will be to make these subjects clearly understandable and actionable for consumers.
As always, I hope you will not hesitate to let us know how we’re doing. After all, listening to—and acting upon—your feedback has kept us relevant for almost 65 years.
You can communicate directly with us via email at firstname.lastname@example.org, drop us a letter at the address listed on page 3 or send thoughts via the communications folks at your utility. We promise to listen.