Thursday, September 28, 2006
The Steamboat Pilot & Today is unlike any other newspaper I have worked for.
In many ways, that's good. Our tabloid format, I think, is easier for readers to handle and read. And our free distribution model is ahead of the newspaper industry curve. Many metro newspapers such as the Chicago Tribune and the Washington Post are only now experimenting with free tabloids in an effort to reach time-starved commuters.
But there are elements of the traditional newspaper that we lack. For example, you can't share sections of the Today. You can't keep the local news section and pass the sports or comics across the breakfast table.
The truth is, we don't have nearly as many of those sections either. There are no food or travel sections. No technology, jobs, health care or interior design. There's no religion, finance or kids section.
Rather, the Today is pretty straightforward. Our newshole is dictated by daily advertising. The more advertising we have, the more news pages. We typically determine how many pages of local news we need and then fill the rest with state, national and world news.
We produce a daily Wall Street report, TV listings, comics and sports, but very little else in the way of specialized content.
That is going to change. I spent Wednesday in a retreat with other managers at the newspaper. One of the goals that retreat produced was to add more specialized content on a daily and weekly basis. Put simply, we need to give readers more options throughout the week.
There is no shortage of such feature content out there. I get offers daily for packages ranging from gossip sheets focused on the latest Hollywood romances to pre-designed news pages dedicated solely to NASCAR coverage.
Left to me and my interests, I'd add regular content dedicated to golf, barbecue and Texas music.
Unfortunately, I don't think that would go over as well with the rest of our readers.
That's where I need your help. I plan to spend the next few months deciding on new sections to add into the Today on a weekly basis.
I have my ideas, but this is going to be a lot more successful if I can get ideas from y'all.
Call or e-mail me with your input, and I promise to use it as we make changes in the coming year.
From the Editor appears Thursdays in Steamboat Today. Send questions to Scott Stanford at email@example.com, or call him at 871-4221.