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Doug Barker - Changes that will be for the better


June 1 is when we’ll begin delivering a print edition of The Daily World three days a week instead of six and updating news on the website and social media pages between print cycles.

Math is not a strong suit, but one might reasonably think that printing a newspaper three days a week instead of six would be easier. Like I said, not my strong suit, but half as hard, right? In the preparation and planning we’ve done so far, I’m not finding it any easier.

Thankfully, we have 27 days to figure it out.

We’ll be spending those 27 days rejiggering the rhythm of our professional lives — in every department, not just the newsroom — with the ultimate goal of giving you a newspaper that’s every bit as complete as the one you’re reading right now and better in some respects.

One of the changes we think you’ll like will be the addition of a third section in every edition. It will be a lifestyle section with a different emphasis each of the three days. Tuesday the front of the section will be devoted to health and family and sometimes food, Thursday to arts and entertainment and Saturday to home and recreation.

Each day that section will also include two full pages of color comics, two crossword puzzles, two Sudoku puzzles, advice columnists, horoscopes, TV grids and feature news.

The Thursday arts and entertainment section is timed to help you plan your weekend and give local arts groups some extra last-minute exposure. As an aside, be sure to let us know what you need publicized.

That Thursday section will replace the current Preview magazine now included in Thursday’s edition. Instead of including the TV listings in Preview, as we do now, we’ll include two, or sometimes three days of upcoming listings in each print edition. I suspect some of you won’t like that and would prefer all the listings in one clump. We’re doing it because the savings from not printing that separate publication are substantial. Separate TV booklets are going away in many newspapers. One reason is more and more people use the on-screen guide and another is expense. The trend is to offer TV booklets only to those willing to pay extra for them. In some cases papers have dropped TV grids altogether or offered very limited listings.

The sports section will be twice as big as our daily section now and the schedule of upcoming local events and TV and radio broadcasts will include all the upcoming days so you won’t be in the dark about TV times for upcoming Mariners games. And the game coverage of local events will be posted to the Web the day of the event, regardless of whether it’s a print publication day.

Judging by your phone calls, some of you are of a mind that the news is going to be old by the time the print edition gets to you. To that, I say, “It’s complicated.” We’re going to publish information far more immediately than we ever have because we’re going to add stories to our website more frequently and publish quick-hitting developments to Facebook and Twitter as we become aware of them. Currently we publish most of the stories to the Web at 10:30 each morning, 7:30 on weekends. And we sometimes update the Web during the day with breaking stories. Soon, we’ll publish stories to the Web as they are written and edited.

We’ve already started offering an email newsletter every morning with a menu of our stories for the day. It’s called Morning Briefing. Some of you are already getting it.

If you want to sign up, it’s free and all you have to do is go to thedailyworld.com and look for the newsletter sign up boxes. They’re just below the obituaries on the home page. Every morning you’ll get a list of all your stories and links to our website.

If you only want to see local stories, that’s all we’ll send you.

If you only read us in print, and I know that’s true for a lot of you, I’ll say this: There may be times when you’ll hear something about a story before you read it in print, but you won’t get the full story, reported as well as we can report it — with depth and context — from any other source.

Some of you have been concerned about not getting the grocery ads in time for your mid-week shopping. We expect that our advertisers will just consolidate their current advertising in the three days of print publication. We think the grocery advertisers, for instance, will choose Tuesday instead of scheduling inserts in Wednesday as they do now, and in Saturday’s paper instead of Sunday.

There are going to be some changes in your paper, no doubt about it. The one you won’t like is that it will plop on your doorstep less frequently. But some of them you will like. We’ll spend the next 27 days making sure you’ll like what you see.

Doug Barker, The Daily World’s editor, can be reached at 537-3923, or by email at dbarker@thedailyworld.com

 

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