BY JENNIFER RITTER REPORTER
Local Resident Announces the Dirt Road Review
Even in small town America, timely access to local news matters. But until recently, residents of southeast Kansas had to make do without this vital service, instead having to wait for the next edition of the local print newspapers. That is all about to change as local businessman Shawn Ritter announces the premier of the Dirt Road Review.
“Before now, the only way to get current news was to look it up on Facebook-and everyone knows it’s just word of mouth and can be full of mistakes.” Said Ritter. “The Dirt Road Review is the best of both worlds. We’re providing reliable news from knowledgeable sources and bringing it to you just as fast as it happens.”
The Dirt Road Review is the only fully online newspaper dedicated to the southern half of Montgomery County, covering Coffeyville, Caney and the surrounding area. Unlike the print newspapers in the area, the Dirt Road Review is not limited to print deadlines and publishing dates, making it flexible and more responsive. Visitors are able to have access to information as it happens-not just as it is issued.
In addition to covering local happenings, meetings, and events, the Dirt Road Review is set to become the community’s destination for articles and news for local experts and contributors as well. Many with connections to the community that happen to live elsewhere have reached out to the paper to contribute their stories.
“Readers will see some familiar names in our line up.” Ritter said. “All sorts of writers with ties to the community have signed on to share their work with us and more are coming on all the time.”
Don’t be surprised if you recognize Ritter’s name as well. Until recently, he was the editor of the Coffeyville Journal. “I learned a lot during my time with the Coffeyville Journal.” Ritter said. “I got to re-introduce myself to the community, meet some incredible people and learn about all of the things that happen in town that had previously gone unnoticed [by the press]. I also got the chance to talk with many residents to learn what was important to them and the stories they wanted to hear more about. That’s what makes this paper so different from the others in the area. We cover what matters to you-not what a publisher or advertiser thinks you want.”
Another difference between the Dirt Road Review and its conventional counterparts is that there is no cost for subscription at this time. The paper is accessible to anyone-for free. “Keep your change.” Ritter said. “The Dirt Road Review doesn’t have any printing, newsprint or delivery expenses.”
And forget about issue schedules. Readers will want to check the Dirt Road Review website many times a day for updates on current events and new original content. “The great thing about doing the Dirt Road Review online is that I can report the news the minute I get it.” Ritter said. “Readers will see updates constantly. There is no need to wait until the paper comes out once a week or a few times a week to see things that have already happened.”
Ritter is already hard at work covering local government functions, doing interviews and gathering sources and connections. He said he was pleased with the response he has received so far. “Many of the people I have contacted tell me it’s about time!” Ritter said. “There has been a real gap in the news of the area for too long and people know I can get in there and fill it.”
Ritter’s plan is to craft the Dirt Road Review into a paper that truly reflects the community it covers and encourages reader feedback and suggestions. “I am a perfectionist by nature. Anyone who knows me knows I won’t put my name on anything that is not up to that standard.” Ritter said. “Now I get to cover area news the way it should be done. I think readers will see a difference immediately. ”
Readers will also undoubtedly notice a sense of its editor coming home as well. “I found when I left the Journal, I couldn’t leave the job itself behind.” Ritter said. “It feels really good to be back in the game-this time on my terms.”