News From Terre Haute, Indiana

April 5, 2008

Max Jones: Evolving with an industry — and with our readers

By Max Jones

TERRE HAUTE — Newspapers, it is said, are living, breathing organisms that reflect the times in which they exist and the values of the communities they serve. In order to meet the changing needs and wants of their wide and diverse audience of readers, newspapers must evolve right along with them.

Some phases of a newspaper’s evolution can be dramatic, such as a major redesign in the appearance and organization of both content and presentation. Others are subtle adjustments that occur constantly without notice from most readers.

Then there are those middle phases that are more noticeable, although have only minor, if any, impact on readers. One of those came about this week when the Tribune-Star reduced the width of the single printed page by one-half inch to 111/2 inches.

Page size reductions have been an industry-wide trend in recent years. The price of newsprint — the term for the paper we print on — has been rising steadily, so newspaper companies have reduced page sizes in an effort to control that sizable expense.

In addition to the physical changes in your newspaper, we also initiated content and organizational adjustments this week. One has to do with the repositioning to Page A3 of a few types of local news that our readers find essential. These items, formerly scattered throughout the paper, mostly involve police, fire and court news, as well as calendars and vital statistics. The page will carry the header “In Touch … with the Wabash Valley”.

Another change involves a redesign of section headers (those typographical elements at the top a cover page that labels the section’s content, such as Business or School Zone).

The final change is designed to streamline and improve the process of reporting errors to our newsroom. Readers will now find a detailed explanation of how to report errors to us on Page A2 each day.

Here is what it says:

The Tribune-Star’s journalists and content handlers strive to be accurate and fair in all phases of reporting, writing, photography and presentation. We correct errors as soon as possible.

To report an error:

• In obituaries — call (812) 231-4223. If you are connected to voicemail, please leave your name, phone number and brief message describing the error. An obituary clerk will return your call. The obituary desk is staffed daily, including weekends, from 3 p.m. to 9 p.m. E-mail: obituary@

• In news stories — You may contact the news reporter directly (phone numbers and e-mail addresses are usually posted at the end of an article), or Assistant Editor Susan Duncan at (812) 231-4333, susan.duncan@

• In sports stories — You may contact the sports reporter directly (phone numbers and e-mail addresses are usually posted at the end of an article), or Sports Editor Todd Golden at (812) 231-4272, Sports Department e-mail:

• In calendars, event listings and community news briefs — Contact, or Community News Editor Sheila TerMeer at (812) 231-4221,

• If you want to make a general comment about the accuracy or fairness of any of our news stories, photographs, headlines, story selections and placement, or editorials, please contact Editor Max Jones at (812) 231-4336,

• • •

As always, I welcome questions, comments and suggestions about these changes to your newspaper. When a newspaper evolves, it must do so with its readers and customers in mind. Feedback is key for us as we move forward and look for ways to improve and meet reader needs.

Jones can be reached at (812) 231-4336, or by e-mail at