Publisher Michael Bennett

Vigilant gets new look April 5

Published 7:33pm Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Since taking over as publisher of Leader Publications, Michael Bennett has made plenty of changes to the news organization, but the changes coming next month will definitely be the most visible.
A fresh redesign of all the newspapers will be followed by the launching of a new website that will serve as a one-stop site for news throughout southwest Michigan.
The newly designed Niles Daily Star and Dowagiac Daily News editions will drop April 2, making the switch from broadsheet to tabloid format. The Cassopolis Vigilant and Edwardsburg Argus will make the switch April 5.
The more compact papers will have the same amount of news content as the previous editions, according to Bennett.
“It will help us design a better paper,” Bennett said of the switch in format.
“We’re happy people won’t have to stretch their arms too far to open the paper,” Bennett said with a laugh.
The new papers will feature more color pages and a new, “more modern” design, Bennett said.
Coinciding with the new design will be the elimination of Saturday editions for the Niles Daily Star in anticipation of the U.S. Postal Service, which delivers the Daily Star, ending Saturday delivery.
A new website,, featuring news from Niles, Dowagiac, Cassopolis and Edwardsburg, should launch by the end of April.
Currently, Leader Publications manages six separate websites. The move will reduce that number to two with Off The Water maintaining its current site, offering entertainment news for Michiana.
“ will have all the content of each community we serve,” Bennett said. “People looking for general news from the region can find it on the main news page. Those who want to go to a specific town can click on a tab for news from that town.”
Also coming to Leader Publications papers will be more “community-generated content,” Bennett said.
Community leaders will have regular columns throughout the week.
“Our ultimate goal is to provide good, relevant community content that people will look forward to reading each day,” Bennett said.

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