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Max Jones

November 14, 2011

MAX JONES: Arranging the pieces so it all makes sense

Putting together a newspaper, with its diverse mix of content, is sort of like assembling a jigsaw puzzle. You just have to keep mixing, matching and playing with the pieces until things begin to look right.

We’ve been doing a bit of that recently in the Tribune-Star. We’re always looking to be more efficient with our resources and news space, so we periodically move things around in hopes of creating a better product. We try to be smart about it and respectful of readers, and I think we usually get it right. But sometimes we don’t, and when we fail, we’re not ones to be stubborn and refuse to admit it. We simply back off and, if possible, return things to the way they were.

Bottom line: We want to produce a newspaper that helps readers feel like better, more engaged citizens; a newspaper that readers find interesting, informative, relevant, useful, inspiring, entertaining and satisfying. Every day.

We just finished tinkering with content placement, and it’s time to let readers know about the adjustments we’ve made. Here’s the scoop:

• We’ve redesigned the page that contains advice columns (Dear Abby, Heloise, etc.), the astrology chart, and interactive features such as Sudoku, Jumble and the crossword puzzle. The page now includes the daily TV grid. To accomplish this, we moved “Today in History” to the back page of the A section, under the daily weather package.

• We’ve moved our food features, including Jackie Lindley’s “Tried ’n’ True” recipe column, from the Monday paper to the Sunday Valley Life section. However, the Restaurant Inspections will remain in the A section’s news columns, usually on Page A3.

• The Sunday Perspectives and Jobs & Money sections have been merged into one Sunday section, with Jobs & Money appearing behind the Perspectives content.

• The page containing the New York Times Sunday Crossword Puzzle will now appear in the back of the Sports section. The Valley Datebook listing of calendar items will move from the Sunday A section to the Valley Life section.

We’re considering some other adjustments that could allow us to devote more space to some of your favorite feature content, but we haven’t made any more final decisions yet. I’ll let you know when we do.

•••

Basketball season is gearing up, and there are new ways sports fans can keep up with their local teams. Our sports staff is getting proficient at using Twitter, a digital social media network through which you can follow news and sports events in real time by subscribing to the Twitter feeds of those who are there in person.

For example, I used Sports Editor Todd Golden’s Twitter feeds this fall to follow developments during ISU’s football games. Todd posts periodic updates from games, and I follow his “tweets” to keep up with game progress. I can follow Twitter from my computer, or from my mobile phone. Pretty cool.

You can obtain a Twitter account online at Twitter.com. Get Todd’s and other staff members’ Twitter addresses most days at the top of the cover page of the Sports section.

I’m even starting to get in on the action. You can follow me on Twitter, @TribStarMax.

Max Jones can be reached at (812) 231-4336, or by email at max.jones@tribstar.com.

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