January 4, 2009 in Opinion

Remodeling debuts in today’s newspaper

 
The Spokesman-Review photo

Outdoors and Travel coverage can now be found on the back pages of Sports and Today, respectively.
(Full-size photo)

Readers will see some changes in The Spokesman-Review this year, beginning today.

For starters, three local columns are returning on a weekly basis. Business reporter Bert Caldwell and politics reporter Jim Camden, two veterans who know their subject areas better than anyone else in our region, make their returns as columnists in today’s newspaper. Features writer Jim Kershner, another veteran with a graceful style, will resume his column in Saturday’s newspaper.

We eliminated all three of these columns about a year ago, a decision for which I take responsibility. I thought it was the proper course a year ago, but the notes from disappointed readers and a need to strengthen our local voice in the wake of this fall’s staff reductions have convinced me to reverse course. I hope you’ll share my enthusiasm for their return.

The Outdoors and Travel stories and photos are moving to new homes today. Outdoors coverage is anchored prominently on the back page of the Sports section, while our Travel coverage is now on the back page of the Today section.

Before this week, Outdoors and Travel were contained in a separate section. Although those topics have moved to other sections, the amount of content will remain essentially the same. Eliminating the stand-alone section will result in considerable cost savings for our production department.

Beginning this week, you’ll find the A and B sections combined five days a week – Monday through Friday. On occasion, the Saturday A and B sections may also be combined. That means all national, international, business and local news will be in the first section, along with the editorial pages. The amount of space devoted to each category of news will remain about the same. We’ve been combining the A and B sections on Mondays for years, so we think readers will find it easy to adjust to the reorganization of our sections Tuesday through Friday. Again, the combination of sections will result in considerable cost savings for our production department. The Sunday edition will continue to contain separate A and B sections.

Beginning Tuesday, we will no longer carry the full page of daily stock quotes of 600 companies on the New York Stock Exchange, 600 on the NASDAQ over-the-counter exchange, and 1,200 of the most heavily traded mutuals. Scores of newspapers across the country have dropped similar listings in recent years with the advent of cable television stock tickers and the online availability of stock listings. However, it is important to note that we will continue to publish on Saturday the six-page Investments section, which contains the weekly results for all of the aforementioned stocks, plus thousands more.

The Investments section, which carries 5,600 stock quotes, is provided free of charge for any subscriber who requests it, and it is delivered with the Saturday newspaper. If you are not now receiving the section but would like to, call 747-4422 or (800) 338-8801, ext. 7000. Eliminating the daily stock page will free up space that will be devoted to local and national news.

Our new and improved Money and Markets page, which was upgraded significantly in June, will continue to appear in the Business section Tuesday through Saturday. The Money and Markets page contains stocks and commodities information for the Pacific Northwest, as well as stock quotes for regional companies traded on the over-the-counter market.

For online stock prices and market information, readers can go to www.spokesmanreview.com/ ap/money/ or call (800) 555-TELL.

The upcoming year promises to be an interesting one. We’ll continue to follow the local economy, of course, because the ripple effects of the national recession will be significant. The changing of the guard at the White House will be a frequent topic for coverage, too. Our staff is planning a special four-page preview section on the Obama inauguration for Sunday, Jan. 18, followed by another special four-page section on the inauguration ceremonies for the Jan. 21 edition.

But that’s certainly not all that we have on our agenda. On Wednesday of this week, we’ll have a special four-page section recapping the region’s biggest snowstorm in modern history. The section will feature the best photos from our award-winning staff.

Gary Graham is editor of The Spokesman-Review. He can be reached at (509) 459-5405 and garyg@spokesman.com.


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