On Wednesday, we introduce the results of something I’ve been writing about since the beginning of the year, a far-reaching project that reflects a new approach to how we deliver the news online and in print.
Here’s what you’ll see: Online readers will find a new digital site that makes it easier to read the news from your smartphone or tablet. Print readers will find a new look that highlights what newspapers do best: Help you find – and make sense of – the most relevant stories of the day.
The changes go much deeper than a mere redesign. It’s a different way of thinking about how we report and share news with readers on an ever-growing number of digital devices, and how we present the best of that day’s coverage in our print edition.
The overarching goal is to adapt the way we deliver the news and information readers rely on to understand their world. Research shows that readers now come to us in dozens of ways for dozens reasons and at all hours. Our challenge is to change our pace to keep up with the blazing pace of technology.
We all know our world is changing by the second, and no business that wants to be successful can stand still and keep doing things the way they’ve always done them. It didn’t work for the phone company leaders that said “cell phones are just a fad,” or the buggy makers who said the same thing when “horseless carriages” came on the scene.
Our new design will give you more quick summaries of what’s important, and the opportunity to read the longer, deeper version of the things that interest you. We will be breaking news online and giving you the best of that news, plus updates if they exist, in print the next day.
Print deadlines have moved earlier in newsrooms across the country, as they have in ours, with more readers linking to news of traffic delays or game results from Facebook or Twitter feeds. Our approach for print, including our sports section, is to take the longer view by providing you more information in advance of upcoming games or meetings, and to follow the breaking news online with more context and reaction in print.
In addition to those changes, I am thrilled to let you know that a beloved former colleague will again be contributing to our pages. Johanna D. Wilson will be providing profiles of the “Carolina Characters” who make this area the wacky, wonderful place that it is.
Another change will be more photos, as well as more video offerings online. Page 4A each day will become our “Insight” page, where you’ll find more information on the top news of the day.
It will take some getting used to, for you and for us. We will be changing some things as we go along, unlike the way we did it back in the olden days (or when we were a “legacy” news operation per the current vernacular.) Back then, we launched a redesign and it stuck. Those who are longtime readers may recognize that we haven’t had a major change in our print look for more than 15 years, so it’s past time for us to move with the times.
In that vein, I am following my own advice by finally updating the mug shot that accompanies this column. It wasn’t quite 15 years old, but let’s just say it was a decade past the point of accuracy.
I am sure our engaged readership won’t be shy about telling us what they don’t like about the changes, but we also need to know what you do like. Otherwise, the feedback is too one-sided to be useful.
Stay tuned for Wednesday. And welcome to the newest chapter in delivering news to you all day, your way.