New year brings plans for improvements

Now that the new year is here, we’re pondering answers to the question of what’s going to be new for The New Era.

One of the basic rules I try to follow in life is “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” We have plenty to do to stay on top of the needs of our readers without trying to find new projects.

Still, we’re always on the alert to what our readers here in the Sweet Home community tell us. We frequently hear from readers who tell us they’re really happy with the paper, which is certainly encouraging. Sometimes we hear from those who don’t like things we’re doing or have suggestions for improvement in some area.

I’m always interested in those ideas and comments. Even if they don’t always lead to direct change, that doesn’t mean we aren’t listening and what you tell us isn’t forgotten. Just because we can’t always make everyone happy doesn’t mean we aren’t interested in trying.

This year we have some new things planned that we believe will make our news product better for you, the consumer.

I’m not going to go into a lot of details because some of those details are still being worked out. But since it’s the start of a new year for the newspaper, I’m giving you a peek into the future.

One plan on the drawing board is to change the newspaper’s format in a way that we believe will make it easier to read and will give us a bit more space for news and photos, while making the pages look less cluttered.

We’ll give you more details when we’re ready to implement this new look – which we hope will be soon, but we are confident that it will be effective in making the paper easier to read and handle.

Another change that is still in the works but will be here soon is an improved Web page. Our technology is behind the curve, we know, and we have been waiting for the opportunity to bring it up to speed. Web technology is changing rapidly and what we’re planning is a system that will be able to bring you the news in a more effective manner than we are able to now.

The temptation, of course, is to go for broke and try to implement all manner of cool stuff that’s out there.

Our goal is to maintain our news coverage in terms of being at local events and talking with interesting local folks, but to deliver that news in a more efficient and timely fashion via our Web site.

We also want to make it easier for you to contact us and do business with us over the Web. We’re working on the bells and whistles now and when the product is ready to roll out, you’ll know about it.

We haven’t added a whole lot to the newspaper in recent months, but we are starting a new comic strip today that you’ll find on page 8. Being a bit of a comic strip connoisseur myself (a habit left over from my days as a newspaper delivery boy when I’d read ’em before I delivered ’em), I realize that people have different tastes in cartoons and so we try to have a little bit of a variety.

We have the really off-the-wall “Out on a Limb” and, fairly regularly, “Left Side of the Brain” for those who appreciate very subtle humor. On the other end are “RFD,” which most people in the city would not get, and “They’ll Do It Every Time,” which specializes in sarcasm.

So we’ve added “Amber Waves,” which is a little less subtle and should appeal to some of our younger readers as well as older ones.

As I said earlier, we’re always interested in ideas. While we’re bound by limitations, as all news organizations are, in time and staffing and the resources to do all the things we’d like to do, our ears are open to readers’ suggestions of how things could be better. Contact me at [email protected] or give me a call at 367-2135.

And have a productive and happy new year!