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Editor's Notes: Change is on the way that will benefit us — and you

Sunday, February 1, 2009
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You’ll see some changes in your Gazette in the coming week.

We’ve reorganized the layout of our newspaper in a way that makes smarter use of our resources: our staff, which is smaller than it was a year ago, and our newsprint, which is far more expensive than it was a year ago. The content of the paper — the local stories, photographs, columns and editorials — won’t be significantly different.

The change will better highlight our local news coverage. Our staff is full of hard-working reporters who each day generate interesting news about our region. Now, you’ll see more of that news. Veteran Saratoga County reporter Steve Williams’ Off The Northway column, for example, has in the past run in just our Saratoga County edition. Now, readers in all editions will be able to read his column.

The changes also make smarter use of our newsprint, which became increasingly expensive last year as the market price of paper rose more than 30 percent. As we looked at that cost, we looked at ways to more wisely use our newsprint.

Strategic shuffling

Reorganizing the paper made a lot of sense. It gives us the flexibility to give each department — sports, local news, features — just the amount of space they need each day. The reorganization also gave us the opportunity to make some editorial changes that make the paper livelier and more concise.

On Thursdays, for example, we’ll publish a new features section called “It’s The Weekend.” The section is intended to help people plan the coming weekend by giving them important information about the region’s entertainment offerings. We’re publishing it on Thursdays because that’s when a lot of people begin gearing up for the weekend.

“It’s The Weekend” consolidates in each Thursday’s paper information once scattered over several days, making it far less likely that you’ll miss a concert, festival or play. Longtime music critic Mike Hochanandel’s Jukebox column, which previews the weekend’s best local music offerings, will be a key part of “It’s The Weekend.” The section will also include our popular “Live in the Clubs” package, reporter Brian McElhiney’s look at the musical groups on the local club scene, as well as a full-week calendar of arts events.

We’ve also consolidated parts of the Sunday newspaper. Today’s paper, for example, includes both a Lifestyles section and an Arts section. Beginning next week, those sections will merge into one Life & Arts section.

The new section will continue to feature local cover stories, and also will continue to include Irv Dean’s and Caroline Lee’s local restaurant reviews; our events calendar; articles about travel, books and movies; and our longstanding Environment Page.

Sunday’s paper will continue to run stock listings, but they, along with that day’s business news, will be published in the A, or first, section of the paper.

Our Education Page, once anchored in the Sunday Lifestyles section, has been updated to include more local education news. It moves to Thursdays, where it will be found in the Local News section.

Weekday lineup

Weekdays, our Life & Arts section will move to the Local News section. The staples — Annie’s Mailbox, Goren on Bridge and the daily horoscope — will remain. Reporter Jeff Wilkin’s history stories will continue to run on Mondays. Tuesdays will be devoted to homes and gardens, a focus that will include Natalie Walsh’s popular garden column. The chefs from Schenectady County Community College will continue to provide us with recipes for our Wednesday food page and the always-popular Dan DiNicola will continue to supply us with movie reviews on Fridays.

The daily Comics Page, which has been in our Life & Arts section, will move to the next-to-last page of the paper. For longtime readers of the Gazette, the change will bring the funnies back to a familiar spot. Because of how our printing press works, however, the new location means our colorful comics will return to black and white. They’ll be just as funny (or not, as is sometimes the case); they just won’t be in color.

Lottery results, weather, movie listings and TV listings have been moved and consolidated on one page, the back page of our Local News section. On Saturdays and Sundays, when we publish expanded daytime TV listings, those pages will be included in the Local News section as well.

Eye on the weather

We’ve signed up with AccuWeather to supply our new weather package, both in print and online.

The print edition of the weather will include a local, long-range forecast and almanac data. Our new online weather from Accuweather, accessible via www.dailygazette.com, offers a more detailed forecast than we’re offering now, as well as a video report from one of their staff meteorologists.

These changes will make us leaner and stronger, which will enable us to continue publishing — in print and online — a newspaper that diligently covers our region with honesty, integrity and respect. We hope you agree. If you want to offer your opinion, I’m at jpatrick@dailygazette.net.

 
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