The largest local news source in Texas and most distributed in the country will soon undergo a newspaper transformation with the arrival of CI Simple.

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.


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 your mailbox.

Streamlined and impactful
  • With CI Simple, articles will be more concise and direct—our reporters know every word matters.
  • Readers will see more subheads (called Impactisms) and bullet points to easily consume news.
  • CI’s designers are focused on larger visuals and are committed to using photography to help tell the story.
Captivating covers

At first glance, you’ll notice CI’s revamped front-page strategy. Each month, expect an eye-catching photo or graphic alongside a story that truly matters to you and your neighbors.
On the left, the familiar Community Impact newspaper; on the right, the sleek and impactful CI Simple redesign, revolutionizing how local news is experienced.
On the left, the familiar Community Impact newspaper; on the right, a sleek and impactful conceptual cover of the CI Simple redesign, revolutionizing how local news is experienced.

What else?

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 timeline

The redesign hits mailboxes across Texas in September. Savor your September edition over a cup of coffee or while lounging in your favorite spot, then email us and let us know what you think.

What’s next?

Community Impact is not done innovating for 2023. Next month, we’re also launching CI 360, a new print and digital services package for local businesses wanting a “full circle” approach to their marketing strategy. Next month’s blog will include details, and you can read past blogs here.

Read the Q&A below to hear more from the key players in CI Simple’s inception.

Q: How does CI Simple put Community Impact at the forefront of innovation in the journalism industry?

Marie Leonard, Content Director: Community Impact is still doubling down on its print product—a strategy many other news organizations aren't focused on. By taking this new CI Simple approach into account, we'll be better able to serve our readers for decades to come.

One of the first things you learn in journalism school is to put the critical information at the top of the story because most people won't read an entire article. And especially in today's world, time is more precious than ever. But that doesn't mean people don't crave local and useful information about their own community—it's just the opposite. We're digging our heels in to this behavior and providing readers with key information they need to know in a simpler, cleaner format, while also giving them the option to go deeper on our cover stories.

Q: From a design perspective, what is CI Simple communicating?

Derek Sullivan, Creative Director: We know images are important, yet we also believe a "content-first" approach to all layouts is the future. As you read through the pages, the design should naturally lead your eye to the important information first. We've also focused on organizing content better by subject matter, so hopefully it's easier to find what you're looking for. Our goal was a design that is simple yet engaging, plenty of white space and great use of color.

Q: What do you hope readers take away from CI Simple?

Matt Stephens, Senior Managing Editor: A better understanding of their communities and the stories that impact them. Simplifying complex, complicated subject matter has always been a key tenet of Community Impact's brand of journalism, and we've really tried to focus on that with the paper redesign and the changes in our story formats. We're emphasizing writing stories and creating designs that are easier to read and will get to the point faster. The depth of the reporting and the standard of quality we hold ourselves to isn't changing, but our content is now built for an audience that consumes information differently than it did 15-20 years ago. 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.

Q: CI Simple involves an emphasis on bold photography. Why is that important?

Kaitlin Schmidt, Senior Art Production Manager: A picture is worth 1,000 words is a cliche for a reason—because it's true. Community Impact has always included photos, but 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. So we really want to get more faces and perspectives on our pages, and utilize those to tell immediate stories.
Senior Managing Editor Matt Stephens and Senior Art Production Manager Kaitlin Schmidt discuss the power of bold visuals and concise content. (Sierra Rozen/Community Impact)
Senior Managing Editor Matt Stephens and Senior Art Production Manager Kaitlin Schmidt discuss the power of bold visuals and concise content. (Sierra Rozen/Community Impact)