Why all these changes to the Appeal-Democrat?
We're not ones to make changes needlessly. It upsets some of us as much as it upsets some of our customers.
But sometimes you have to change — because of the economy, or because of technology, or customer expectations ...
The Appeal-Democrat is changing some things around: How many sections there are on certain days, where we place local content and how many pages of wire service news we run per day. It's not because we have a natural hankering for change. Some of it's driven by the fact that we're a business and need to balance out the amount of advertising sold per day with the amount of news content per day; some of it is driven by the technology we have available to us.
We'll try to answer some questions about what we're doing and why from time to time and as always appreciate reader feedback.
Question: Why are you cutting back to only two sections on some days of the week?
Answer: On our printing press, we can run about as many pages in two sections as we can in four sections. For a four section paper, you have to go up or down in increments of four pages; in a two section paper, we can go up or down in increments of two pages. The actual number of pages printed each day is determined by the amount of local advertising sold that day; from a business standpoint we have better control over expenses when printing a two section newspaper.
Q: Were this week's Monday and Tuesday editions representative of the way things will be from now on?
A: No. We apologize for the fact that we got off to a clumsy start. We can't guarantee that we won't have a few more "clumsy" editions before we get this figured out. But, please, give us a little more time and look at editions over a few weeks. We think it will get better and make better sense as we go along. We've been doing things the same for decades; we think it will take a while before we get the new way really figured out, but not too long.
Q: Will we have two-section papers every day of the week?
A: No. There will be some days that are always four and some days that are usually two sections. Monday and Tuesday are traditionally lighter advertising days in the newspaper industry, although there is no less local news content earlier in the week we might print fewer pages. When doing this, we do have to make some tough decisions about the amount of state, nation and world and syndicated features we furnish our readers, but I can assure you we won't cut local content for the benefit of wire content.
The number of color ads sold in the newspaper also dictates how many sections we run; more color usually means four or more sections run on the press to accommodate the color advertising.
Q: The third section of the paper has always been a "Local" section. Now it's not. So you're planning on offering less local news?
A: No. We're planning on having a good deal more local news and the staff will work hard to bring it to you. But we will try to put the majority of the local news toward the front of the A section instead of back in a third section of the newspaper. Our goal is to also bring the reader feature accent pages in the C section starting mid-March.
This column is written by Editor Steve Miller for the Appeal-Democrat management staff. If you have questions for this column, email them to firstname.lastname@example.org.