Thursday, December 4, 2008
Steamboat Springs A group at the Pilot & Today has spent the past couple months evaluating our newspaper products and refining ideas for how to make them better. Some of them come down to efficiency and best use of resources. Some of them involve the changing nature of newspapers and newspaper readership.
All of them, I believe, will make our newspaper a better product for readers and advertisers.
The changes we'll unveil Sunday are the most substantive revisions to the Pilot & Today since the Sunday newspaper was launched in January 2001. There will be no reduction in local news content - the bread and butter of our business. Instead, the changes involve how we display that content for our readers.
I'm excited. I think readers will be, too.
Here are some of the differences you'll notice in the paper, beginning Friday:
- No more television grid. In case you haven't heard, TV Guide sold for $1 this year. Not an issue of the magazine. The entire company. Digital cable, satellite TV and the Internet have made newspaper TV listings all but obsolete. Our TV grids are the least read part of the newspaper, according to a reader survey we conducted late last year. So beginning Friday, you'll no longer see them appear in any of our print products.
- No standalone Sunday comics section. Until this weekend, we've printed a separate four-page, full-color Sunday comics section. Beginning Sunday, we'll condense our best comics, Sudoku, crossword puzzle, cryptograms and horoscopes into a two-page, full-color layout that will become part of the new Routt County section in the Pilot & Today. You'll find the comics and crossword on pages 5D and 6D.
- Out with Style, in with Routt County. The Sunday Style section has served as a catch-all home for local feature stories, Routt County Spotlight, milestones, Looking Back, Celestial News with Jimmy Westlake, Cooking with Wolfgang Puck and a wire service travel story, among other things. Much of the local content has value for our readers. Too much of the wire content doesn't.
So we're renaming the Style section "Routt County." Instead of a single feature story on the cover, we're going to pull the local stories from the Education and South Routt pages, as well as add a story from Hayden and a separate feature article to display on the front of the new section. Routt County Spotlight will stay on the left rail.
Wolfgang Puck will remain on page 2D, and Milestones and Looking Back will continue to anchor page 3D. We'll also include a combined version of Laurie Hallenbeck's Hayden "Town Talk" and Lila Rider's South Routt "Town Talk." Other items that could make a home in the Routt County section: school lunch menus for the coming week, meeting notices for municipal bodies from throughout the county, news in brief and Happenings.
- A new home for Business. Earlier this year, we created a separate Real Estate section for the Sunday Pilot & Today. It made sense. Real estate is arguably the most significant industry in Routt County, and creating additional space for news coverage and advertisers was a no-brainer.
We've recently condensed and reformatted our classifieds. They look better and they use less newsprint. Starting Sunday, all of our classifieds again will run in one section - Real Estate. This will allow us to save on newsprint, which has risen more than 30 percent in price during the past year. The Real Estate section will remain as is, except for the addition of all other classified advertising. Business will no longer have its own section, but we will devote the same amount of space to this important topic. Page 3A of the Pilot & Today will become the home for business news. It will remain full color and will retain its "Business" banner across the top of the page.
I'm happy with the changes our team made - we found ways to conserve newsprint without sacrificing local content. At the same time, I think we improved the look and feel of the Sunday newspaper. Pick up a copy this weekend and see for yourself.
And as always, I want to hear what you think. Call me at 871-4221 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.