The Argus-Courier has set a number of goals this year aimed at improving the quality and breadth of our newspaper content, while also enhancing our digital products that include desktop and mobile websites, an electronic replica edition of the newspaper, a daily e-newsletter and a brand new app.

Most of the changes we’re introducing came from suggestions made by our readers in an annual survey conducted earlier this year.

Readers told us they had the highest interest in stories about city and county government followed by food and dining, and arts and entertainment and things to do. Also very popular was environment and outdoor news coverage. We’ve used the survey results to develop a number of improvements we hope our readers will welcome.

Argus-Courier food writer Houston Porter, whose bi-weekly food column and restaurant profiles deliver the latest news on Petaluma’s vibrant restaurant scene, will be joined on alternating weeks by Juli Lederhaus, whose new column will focus on the burgeoning farm-to-table movement and the many local food producers and growers whose delicious products have become staples in the recipes and meals of many Petalumans.

The Sports section has been retitled “Sports Plus” to better reflect the wide range of content that now includes features on adult recreational activities and sporting endeavors, such as this week’s story on the Petaluma Tennis Association. The bi-weekly feature, “Go Play Outdoors,” focuses on activities like hiking, cycling, rowing, horseback riding and more. The Sport Plus section will continue to feature local school news as well as our award-winning youth sports coverage.

Thanks to Features Editor David Templeton, we’ve also made improvements to the scope and quality of our arts and entertainment news, ramping up our coverage of the local music scene as well as live theater and spoken word performance. There is more news about art shows, poetry readings and behind-the-scenes coverage of local arts and culture events. The Community section also now features a reinvented Looking Back column, offering updates on stories we covered in the last 30 years, along with first-person storytelling and film reviews. We’ve also been bringing in new journalistic voices — some fresh, some familiar — to better tell the stories of the diverse and fascinating people who make our town such a wonderful place to live.

Of course, our coverage of local government agencies has been and will remain a top priority as we continue to place a high emphasis on delivering in-depth news coverage of local municipal affairs, health care, the environment, crime and breaking news via our digital channels.

The Petaluma Argus-Courier has been scouring the area for all the local news that’s fit to print for than 162 years now — and it’s been a constantly evolving journey to serve the community with high quality journalism. We thank the hundreds of readers who filled out our survey earlier this year and, of course, continue to welcome your ideas and feedback. Send any suggestions or story ideas to As we work to further improve the newspaper’s coverage, we look forward to hearing from you.