July 9, 2011 in Opinion

Gary Graham: Readers will notice some changes

By The Spokesman-Review
 

We’re introducing some content improvements over the next several days that warrant an explanation.

The most significant changes involve our front page, the Sunday business report and the local news page for the Monday edition.

Beginning tomorrow, the Sunday front page will contain a new weekly feature that we believe will be very popular with readers. We’re launching an interactive feature called “That’s News to You,” a quiz based on the news of the week. It will appear in print and online, and those who take the quiz online can qualify to win a weekly prize.

“That’s News to You” is a feature developed by Addy Hatch, our city editor, and Geoff Pinnock, our senior editor for visuals and production. “Games and puzzles have always been one of the most popular features of any newspaper, and this is a way for us to reward the ‘news junkies’ among our readers,” Hatch said.

The quiz is written by Jim Camden, our veteran political reporter and Olympia correspondent, and while it’s based on the news of the week, the answers sometimes will rely on readers’ broader knowledge of events. One of our ace online developers, Gina Boysun, did most of the under-the-hood work to make the quiz easy for our online participants to use.

Longtime business columnist Bert Caldwell is our new Editorial Page editor, so we no longer have his authoritative voice on the Sunday Business cover page. Caldwell’s promotion prompted us to develop new ways to improve our local focus in the Sunday section. Assistant City Editor Scott Maben, who oversees our business coverage, summarized the changes that readers will begin seeing in this Sunday’s edition:

“Look for more stories on local business and consumer trends, unique companies in our region, and business leaders sharing their insights.

“We also added a weekly ‘Community Snapshot’ provided by Eastern Washington University’s Institute for Public Policy & Economic Analysis. These graphs reveal much about how we live, work and play – from housing and employment, to recreation and transportation, to education and health care.”

Maben said the front page of Sunday Business also will include a preview of local and national events in the coming week, and a syndicated column on subjects such as the workplace, money management, retirement and technology.

Maben also noted that on Page 2 we’ve added a weekly consumer tip from the local Better Business Bureau, and we’ve reorganized Business Beat to report news items by industry. Look for more retail and development news in Business Beat in the weeks ahead.

Elsewhere, Jim Kershner’s weekly humor column is moving from the Saturday edition to Monday. Shawn Vestal, who has been writing a twice-weekly column, will introduce a third column that will appear in Kershner’s previous spot on the Saturday local page. Kershner’s first Monday column will appear next week. Vestal’s additional column will debut on July 16.

Monday’s local page will also include the unveiling of photographer Jesse Tinsley’s weekly “Then and Now” photo feature. Then and Now will feature photos from our archives of regional landmark buildings, places and historic homes, paired with a current photo of the structure or site. Tinsley will also write a short history of what’s shown in the photo. In many instances, readers will be guided to our website for slide shows displaying more views of the subject in the photos.

We welcome your comments on our changes.

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

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