Steve Miller: Cut this comic strip; don't cut my favorite one
I know what I want to be when I grow up. A member of the SIRs (Sons in Retirement) club. I visited them during their monthly meeting last week. I walked into the banquet hall and there were a couple hundred of them. I was a little worried because I'm naturally shy. But they were nice. They listened, mostly politely. Then there were comments and questions: They gave me about as much guff as they give each other. I felt at home.
It's a great group of retired guys who all did their parts for their communities and are now interested in getting together … for no particular reason. They officially don't raise money or collect dues, they aren't for this or that. They've all already done all of that.
Don't get me wrong: They take some issues very seriously. I listened attentively to reports of progress being made by the chairmen of their special committees on bowling, fishing, golf ("I'll talk slowly so the fishermen can understand," one speaker said), bocci ball, travel and computers.
Some of them let me know we were doing OK; some let me know we weren't quite. Comments about the newspaper ranged on a number of topics, but most pertained to comics and the fact that we're going to have to be cutting back on the number we offer in our quest to save some space and concentrate on more local news. "You won't get rid of Tundra, if you know what's good for you," from one club member. "You'd better keep Alley Oop and get rid of that stupid Tundra," from another.
Speaking of which
We know we aren't going to make anyone happy by cutting cartoon strips, but we have to. Which ones will remain? We'll be looking at survey information over the next couple of weeks and negotiating with syndicates.
We want to offer something for everyone, even if we do have to eliminate some popular ones. We'll be keeping in the neighborhood of 15-18 comic strips. That is still quite a few.
From a quick look at the survey analytics, there are a few sure bets for continuation. For fun, we'll look at how a few demographics voted:
1. People older than me: Like Crankshaft. A lot. Pickles is their second favorite; Zits is third.
2. People my age: Like Crankshaft and Zits equally; Pickles is next; Dilbert isn't far behind.
3. People younger than me who have kids living at home: Like Peanuts the most, Garfield and Dilbert next, and Crankshaft.
4. People lots younger than me: Like Garfield the most, Crankshaft next. Zits, Family Circus and Stone Soup tie for third.
Depending on how the negotiations go, all of those are pretty good bets. We'll have more news in the next couple of weeks.
Over the next couple of weeks, we'll be shuffling around and adding to our accent pages.
The weekly feature pages are important to a lot of readers and we want to do a better job of getting local content on them. (A community newspaper's arts and entertainment page, for instance, shouldn't be filled with stories about movies and Hollywood … it should be about local productions, galleries, artists, etc.) The lineup:
• Tuesday will be "Your Money." A page featuring consumer news.
• Wednesday will be "Life and Living." We'll be rotating themes and will eventually settle into this schedule: Food the first Wednesday of the month, health the second Wednesday, seniors the third, a variety of themes the fourth (and fifth) Wednesdays.
• Thursday will be "Spotlight," a mostly local arts and entertainment section.
• Friday: Will be a faith page. It will, as much as possible feature a local faith and religion feature.
• Saturday: Will feature our weekly education page.
• Sunday will continue to feature the business and agriculture pages. Also, we'll be moving the Celebrations pages to Sunday, with some changes. The reader-submitted news will be featured over a couple of pages with color available on the cover for weddings, anniversaries, engagements, etc. The section will be called "Family and Friends."
We wanted to create a spot that would pay more respect to the milestones in people's lives. So those big events will get top billing. Make sure you provide us with color photos for your wedding and anniversary and engagement announcements. After those most important items, the space will be used on a first-come, first-served basis. What local readers feel is important enough to submit will be used (as long as there is some local connection).
What will make the cut for Family and Friends? I'm trying to think of something that won't, other than stuff that has absolutely no local connection. Ribbon cutting for your new hair salon? Goes in. T-ball game write up? A brief account is welcome. Grandma won a blue ribbon for pickles? Goes in. Great-granddaughter in Kokomo won second place in the Indiana Miss Twinkle Toes contest?
As long as the great-grandparents are from here, it goes in.
Send stuff to email@example.com or visit with clerk Melisa Recendez at 749-4768.