EXPLAINER: Where do we get questions for the 'Ask the Editor' section?

Near the front of each Community Impact Newspaper issue is a section called “Ask the Editor,” which can feature either an answer to a specific question we received, a response to a more general inquiry or information we think would be helpful to share with readers.

Although our papers do not have a traditional “Letters to the Editor” section, we always welcome feedback, comments and questions from readers and do our best to respond to each submission personally. Some questions take a little more research to effectively answer.

Here are a few examples of various types of "Ask the Editor" notes that readers may see in our print editions. Readers can always submit their questions to communityimpact.com/feedback.

Answers to specific questions


 
In the December issue of the Spring-Klein edition, we answered a specific question from a reader about our Transportation Updates page included in nearly every issue of Community Impact Newspaper. The question is "Why are lanes closed on FM 1960?" The road, a heavily traveled thoroughfare with many traffic signals, is one of the major east-west corridors in the Spring and Klein area. The reader wanted to know how we chose projects for this section, as we had not yet featured that project, which was beginning to cause significant travel delays for the readership. That reader interest prompted us to look into the project further, and we discovered that construction is part of a special curb ramp project to improve accessibility. This scenario is proof that having a dialogue with readers actually helps us share better information that is directly relevant to people in our coverage area.

Answers to general questions


 
On a similar note, we sometimes receive a number of questions on the same general topic. The "Ask the Editor" section is a chance for us to address those similarly themed questions all at once. The November issue of our Round Rock-Pflugerville-Hutto edition is an example of this kind of editor's note, answering the question, "What's up with all the construction?" The editor addresses what is likely an unusual amount of small road construction projects in all three of the municipalities covered by the paper, providing a quote from a local city manager to put the work in perspective. Sometimes these editor notes act as mini-stories, giving us the change to inform readers on news that we couldn't fit elsewhere in the paper—or to provide background for how we chose which pieces of news to highlight.

Useful information


 
Journalists throw around a lot of terminology used by city officials, engineers, government entities and experts on topics the average reader may not be immediately familiar with. Many of the terms used in government, for instance—municipal utility district, or limited-purpose annexation—require a little background and definition before you jump into reading a related story. This editor note in the November issue of the Tomball-Magnolia edition tackles the question "What is a public improvement district?" Our job is to inform readers, and we can do that better when we take the time to explain some of the concepts that don't often pop up outside of city planning boards and government meetings.

Reporting is provided as part of Community Impact Newspaper’s partnership with the Trusting News Project.
By Vanessa Holt
A resident of the Houston area since 2011, Vanessa began working in community journalism in her home state of New Jersey in 1996. She joined Community Impact Newspaper in 2016 as a reporter for the Spring/Klein edition and became editor of that paper in March 2017 and editor of The Woodlands edition in January 2019.


MOST RECENT

Texas Commissioner of Education Mike Morath announced in a June 30 State Board of Education meeting that students will be taking the STAAR in the 2020-21 school year. (Courtesy Pixabay)
Education organizations call for STAAR requirements to be waived another year

Gov. Greg Abbott waived the State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness, or STAAR, testing requirements in March of earlier this year in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

With a clinical background in internal, pulmonary and critical care medicine, Corry has been with BCM for 20 years. He now focuses primarily on inflammatory lung diseases, such as asthma and smoking-related chronic obstructive pulmonary diseases. (Graphic by Ronald Winters/Community Impact Newspaper)
Q&A: Baylor College of Medicine's Dr. David Corry discusses immunity, vaccine production amid COVID-19 pandemic

Rapid development and distribution of a vaccine worldwide and successful achievement of herd immunity will be key players in determining the lifespan of the COVID-19 pandemic, said Dr. David Corry, a professor of Medicine in the Immunology, Allergy and Rheumatology Section at Baylor College of Medicine.

Three more Comal County residents have died, and 103 more COVID-19 cases were reported. (Community Impact staff)
Comal County reports three COVID-19 deaths, 103 new cases

Comal County confirmed July 10 the coronavirus-related deaths of three area residents, all of whom were residents of area long-term care facilities.

The new partnership will provide on-site, same-day testing and results for assisted-living facility staff and their residents. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
State announces partnership for increased COVID-19 testing for patients, staff at assisted-living facilities, nursing homes

These test sites will help the state work toward the goal of processing up to 100,000 tests in the first month.

More than 19,000 jobs were retained in New Braunfels due to the first round of federal PPP loans. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
DATA: More than 19,000 jobs retained in New Braunfels due to federal PPP loans

Small Business Administration data shows 1,806 New Braunfels businesses received federal assistance through PPP loans.

Comal and Guadalupe County registered voters can cast ballots July 14 at one of 40 combined polling sites. (Courtesy Pexels)
Election day voting for July 14 primary runoffs to be held at 12 polling locations

Election day voting for the July 14 primary runoffs will take place in Comal and Guadalupe Counties from 7 a.m.-7 p.m. at 40 combined polling locations.

Former Cedar Park Police Department Chief Sean Mannix is pictured in this 2015 file photo. (Community Impact Newspaper file photo)
Cedar Park police chief moves to Burnet, driver's license offices reopen: Most popular news this week from Central Texas

Read the most popular Central Texas news from the past week on Community Impact Newspaper's website.

Effective July 9, hospitals in more than 100 counties across the state must now postpone elective surgeries unrelated to COVID-19. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
MAP: Governor expands restrictions on elective surgeries to more than 100 Texas counties

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott expanded the restrictions that initially required only hospitals in Bexar, Dallas, Harris, and Travis counties to postpone all non-medically necessary surgeries and procedures that are unrelated to COVID-19.

Comal County has reported a total of 18 coronavirus-related deaths as of July 9. (Community Impact staff)
Comal County reports three COVID-19 deaths, 50 new cases

Of the new cases, 33 are New Braunfels-area residents, and the county has reported a total of 1,142 confirmed and probable cases.

Person buring paper with a match
Burn ban to take effect in Comal County

The burn ban will go into effect at 6 a.m. on Friday, July 10 and will last for 90 days or until the fire danger recedes.

In compliance with Gov. Greg Abbott's July 2 executive order, the University Interscholastic League is requiring the use of facial coverings when practical to do so for all summer activity participants, among other guidelines. (Graphic by Ronald Winters/Community Impact Newspaper)
UIL releases guidelines for conducting summer activities during COVID-19 pandemic

The University Interscholastic League released udpated guidelines for schools conducting summer activities such as sports training and marching band practices on July 8.

New Braunfels Utilities previously announced that the aquifer was nearing Stage 1 drought conditions in May and June. (Ian Pribanic/Community Impact Newspaper)
New Braunfels to enter Stage 1 drought restrictions July 13

During a Stage 1 water restriction, sprinkler or irrigation system schedules are organized by address and are not permitted to be used on weekends. The areas serviced by the aquifer have not been in a drought stage since October 2018.