downtown Austin

Deeda Lovett, Community Impact Newspapers

Posted by on Tuesday, August 30th, 2016 in Blog

Recorded by Patrick Van Haren

President Dale Lowe called the meeting to order. Past President Mary Bird Bowman led the pledges and President Elect Sara Pantin gave our invocation of the day. Lillian Aaron led us in saying The Four Way Test. Past President Dick Brown served as greeter and Rich Fikani introduced our guests and visitors.


Bill Davies announced the upcoming Membership Soiree/Wine Tasting at The Austonian on Friday, September 23rd. Start thinking about who you’ll invite now and let Ann Graham know for RSVPs.

BookSpring Volunteer Opportunities

Amanda Shaver and Cynthia Ivey of BookSpring were presented to Rotary by Mary Reynolds. They briefly described the work of BookSpring and how they are always able to use more volunteers. Some of the programs that BookSpring is developing or can use volunteers for are: Readwell (delivering once-a-month to various schools) and an empathy reading program for students. BookSpring is actively seeking working relationships with more companies in the region (for book drives), as well as more volunteers.


Michael Portman reminded us about the Paul Harris Fellowship opportunity available for only $333 to potential first time Fellows. President Dale followed with Announcements.

Deeda Lovett, Community Impact Newspapers

After Fellowship, Past President Barry Curlee introduced us to Deeda Lovett. Deeda is the General Manager for the Central Austin edition of the Community Impact newspaper. After developing her talents as a tornado and wildfire chaser in Oklahoma, she came to Austin and worked in the weather department at KEYE. After a few years, she transitioned to Community Impact.

The owners of Community Impact are John and Jennifer Garrett, and they saw a need for a local newspaper in 2005. They started their venture in Pflugerville and their first issue provided a much needed explanation of the new toll road and its impact on the local communities. They delivered 60,000 copies of that edition.

After 11 years, they are now delivering 1,700,000 copies, per month, of local news to 22 Texas communities. There are approximately 5 communities in the DFW area, and their 23rd community will be in Richmond (Houston). The Central Austin edition delivers 98,154 copies via the postal service. Based on reader surveys, about 91% of their audience has reported reading at least 1 of the last 4 issues, while 81% report reading the last 3 out of 4 issues. There are indications that a Community Impact newspaper has a longer shelf life than other papers, and that is appealing to advertisers. Approximately 70% of their readers are 25-54 years of age. They also provide news via their website: (Hint: You should bookmark this now.)

Community Impact is focused on ‘Hyper Local’ and employs local reporters. Their mission is to build communities of informed citizens and thriving businesses through the collaboration of a passionate team. They pride their work on five “stones”: Faith, Passion, Quality, Innovation and Integrity. Their focus areas are on Real Estate and Economic Development, Healthcare, Transportation and special issues.

The big activity for Community Impact has been to bring their printing activities in-house to the Pflugerville location. They will be providing tours in October or later. While they have more than 200 employees, in total, in the Texas cities of Houston, Dallas-Fort Worth and Austin, they are still looking to expand. They are currently seeking a fulltime City of Austin City Council reporter.

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