Thursday, October 02, 2014

Seasons are about change; Herald is ready for shuffle

5/21/2014

Summer brings a great opportunity to shake things up. The newspaper has won a number of awards recently — including a fourth consecutive sweepstakes honor from the Kansas Press Association, ranking us as one of the best in the state — but that doesn’t mean we’re ready to rest on our laurels.

Herald readers might notice a couple new faces in today’s edition, as our newspaper works to actively engage readers with fresh, compelling content. This warm-weather season is no time for boredom after all.

Summer brings a great opportunity to shake things up. The newspaper has won a number of awards recently — including a fourth consecutive sweepstakes honor from the Kansas Press Association, ranking us as one of the best in the state — but that doesn’t mean we’re ready to rest on our laurels.

Herald readers might notice a couple new faces in today’s edition, as our newspaper works to actively engage readers with fresh, compelling content. This warm-weather season is no time for boredom after all.

We’re excited to offer a new feature on The Herald’s Lifestyle page — opposite the Comics section — with “Ask Amy: Advice for the Real World” by Amy Dickinson. The Chicago Tribune’s signature advice columnist, Dickinson succeeded the legendary Ann Landers (Eppie Lederer) at the newspaper. Her column has built a devoted following since Landers’ death in 2002, with readers and editors alike praising her straight-forward, honest style and appeal to a variety of audiences.

The Herald will be testing “Ask Amy” as a permanent replacement for “Annie’s Mailbox” — another successor to “Ask Ann Landers,” which is written by longtime Ann Landers editors Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar. Let us know what you think. (A full subscriber survey — looking to gauge readers’ favorite features and even perhaps what our newspaper needs more or less of — is planned for later this summer.) Read more about the “Ask Amy” column on Page 9 in today’s Herald.

Another change is the addition of columnist Stanley Crouch as a regular contributor to The Herald’s opinion pages. Editors are happy to announce Crouch’s return to the newspaper after a couple years’ absence. The columnist is known for his biting political and cultural commentary, as well as his literary contributions critiquing jazz music and poetry. Crouch, who writes from a left-leaning perspective, might not match every reader’s personal viewpoints, but should help add more balance to The Herald’s opinion roundup.

The newspaper earlier this month also added Ron Paul — Libertarian icon, former presidential candidate and now syndicated columnist — to its regular opinion lineup. Paul offers readers a largely unfiltered, often-unpredictable take on international and domestic issues. His views and commentary typically run outside the bounds of the standard left-right squabbles, providing a thought-provoking new voice to The Herald.

Astute readers likely already took note of other changes that hit the newspaper this winter and spring. Those include the addition of the weekly “Chicken Soup for the Soul” and monthly “Hope for Today” columns on The Herald’s Faith page, as well as the weekly “Positively Pets” column on the Lifestyle page and the new strip “Tundra” on the Comics page. In addition, the newspaper added the Ottawa tribe bead work to The Herald’s front page and the daily “Ottawa Flashback” facts — both of which tie in to the “Ottawa 150” sesquicentennial effort being organized by the newspaper with help from other local businesses and agencies.

What’s next?

Tommy Felts, Herald managing editor — who earlier this spring was named one of Editor & Publisher magazine’s “Top 25 Under 35” editors in the nation — will be taking a more active role on the opinion page, penning more of the newspaper’s editorials. Felts also will oversee editorial endorsements for The Herald as the party primary and general elections near.

Other changes — including tweaks to the look of The Herald and The Shopper — also are planned this summer.

As the weather heats up, we’re ready to crank up the air conditioning, as well as the pressure to keep improving The Herald on behalf of our loyal readers and the communities we serve. Thanks for joining us as we shake out the cobwebs and build on our successes to develop an even more relevant newspaper that better suits the needs of modern readers like you.

Jeanny Sharp and Tommy Felts,

Herald editorial board

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