Archived Story

Michael Bennett: Keep the feedback coming

Published 10:56pm Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Has anyone noticed that your newspaper looks different?

I did not expect, when we converted this newspaper to an updated format, that it would create such a challenge for many of our long-time readers.
We’ve received several calls since this newspaper’s new look debuted on Monday, some unhappy and others complimentary.

One reader stands out. She told me she had subscribed to the paper when she got married 61 years ago. She was not happy with our change to the new format, which I couldn’t understand until reporter Craig Haupert pointed out that after 61 years a suddenly changed newspaper would be like looking in the mirror and seeing a different face.

When it got down to it, the challenge for our reader was simply change. We believe that all of our readers will, over time, recognize that our new format makes the newspaper easier to read. That doesn’t mean that we expect everyone to embrace this change right away. We think the news format is better-organized and easier to use, but if you love the old, oversized newspaper and have read it for 50 years, you do not want it messed with at all.

Some of our readers were under the impression that the new, smaller page size meant there was less news in the paper. That, however, isn’t the case. Hold on for a minute while I count the stories from the same issues last week to compare.

Looking at the first three issues this week versus the same days last week:

The Daily Star ran 36 total pages with 22 stories and briefs. The previous week we ran 23 stories and briefs in 24 total pages. In the Daily News, we ran 38 local stories and briefs and ran a total of 40 pages. The previous week we ran 20 stories and briefs in 20 pages. For the record, I didn’t count sports, as schools were not in session this week, meaning less content.

Why the increase in news items? There are a few reasons. In the old giant page format, we would often run a photograph that covered up to a third of the page. Our type size for headlines was larger. We are now averaging about two pages for every one in the old format.

We are also running a slightly larger sheet size so those two pages provide an additional 12 inches of space. We are doing our best not to “jump” stories to other pages. A jump is when we continue a story to another page. Counting obituaries, we are committed to providing at least five local pages of news every day.

Some have noted that our comics are smaller and harder to read. That is true as we added the crossword and Sudoku puzzles to those pages. We did not want to eliminate any comics and found this to be our only solution.

Most of our feedback has been very favorable, although we tend to really hear only from those who are unhappy.

Ultimately, our goal is to publish the top small local community newspapers in the country and we appreciate hearing from everybody who has an opinion on the subject.

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