I'm always amused when someone calls and asks me where something is located in the newspaper. For more than five years, we've stuck to a basic layout format to help people quickly and easily locate specific parts of the content. Editorials are on page 2. Obituaries are on page 3. Babies and weddings are on page 4. Columnists are on pages 5 through 9. Sports are on page 1B and 2B (and more if needed). Real estate, professional ads and classifieds are the last five inside pages.
When we chose our layout plan, I shot for what people told me they most often read. They enjoyed letters and opinion pieces, and they wanted to find out who had passed away. After that, they read their favorite columnists, check on the Punchers, and then see what's being sold. Mixed into all of this are the awards and honors, the clubs and organizations, the happenings and the plans.
But, I don't like leaving things static for too long. Though I personally like our layout, I know that it can start to seem stale if we don't try something new every now and then. I also know that you don't enjoy having to hunt all the way through the paper to find what you're looking for. So! It's time for you to speak up.
We here at the News would love to have your input about what you would like to see more of in the paper. I'd also like to know what you don't enjoy and don't care about. I would like to have your suggestions about how the paper is laid out, and what would make it easier for you to read.
Is the type too small? Do you not like a font we use for some of the headlines? Are the pictures too big/small? Do you want more of some topics and less of others?
Your comments are not meant to be letters to the editor, so they will remain private and will be for my use only (unless, of course, you want us to share them). You can email them to us at firstname.lastname@example.org , or mail them to us at PO Box 1729, Mason, TX 76856. You can even drop them by our office at 122 Live Oak, between Grosse's and Santos. Some of you enjoy giving your comments face to face; but, that makes it hard for me to remember all that you talked about, so I'd prefer getting your suggestions in writing.
Though weekly newspapers are a business, we are also a public service. We have to meet your needs in order to remain an important source for your news, and we have to do it in a way that best serves the entire community. If you don't tell us what you need and want, it's hard for us to provide it.
I'm not planning any HUGE changes to the paper, as you've told me that you like it pretty much as it is. That doesn't mean we can't make some changes to improve things.
I look forward to hearing from you.
It’s all just my opinion.