|
|
GHS Newsroom
  • Pa. newspaper group relaunches with new look

  • A group of four GateHouse newspapers in the Poconos in Pennsylvania this winter took part in the GateHouse Media News & Interactive Division Newsroom Incubator program, which helps newsrooms through redesigns and product development.

    • email print
  • A group of four GateHouse newspapers in the Poconos in Pennsylvania this winter took part in the GateHouse Media News & Interactive Division Newsroom Incubator program, which helps newsrooms through redesigns and product development.
    The papers, The Wayne Independent, The Carbondale News, The Villager and The News Eagle, launched redesigns the last week of January, and we asked group publisher Michelle Hessling about the process, the launch and reaction.
    Why did you decide to redesign? We were transitioning to the 22-inch web size, and our paper had not been redesigned in decades. It needed a facelift. I was looking for continuity and packaging of news and a fresh look that was respectful of our history.
     
    What can you tell us about your community? Honesdale (home of the Wayne Independent) is the Mayberry of the North. Our downtown is something out of a Norman Rockwell painting. We are also the "Birthplace of the American Railroad" and home of the Stourbridge Line Rail Excursions. We are are situated in the county seat of Wayne County, which from north to south is one of the largest counties in Pennsylvania, geographically speaking. Tourism is our bread and butter. We are just north of the Poconos and just east of the Catskills. There are 50-plus summer youth camps here, and between those and second homeowners, our population more than doubles in the summer months. A lot of folks from New Jersey and New York have relocated here in search of a more relaxed way of life and to raise their families.
     
    What changes did you make as part of the redesign? We basically changed just about everything! We started running a daily editorial on our Opinion page, which is something that we did years ago, but stopped doing somewhere along the way. We've added a Saturday "Face Off," which I am really excited about, the "Smile of the Day", people profiles, reader callouts. I love the way that it involves the reader and makes them an active participant rather than just someone on the outside looking in.
     
    How have readers reacted to the redesign? Mixed. Really mixed. Business people really like it and have been e-mailing and calling to congratulate us on our new look. One said that, "It's like a big city newspaper with all of the small-town news." Some of our older subscribers are convinced that we have made our font smaller (we haven't), made our font bigger (we haven't) and cut content (we've added). They don't like the "skinny" newspaper, and a few say they will not re-susbscribe. One man called and accused us of hiding the obituaries (we simply didn't have any for a couple of days, as no one passed away).
    Page 2 of 2 -  
    What advice do you have for papers considering a redesign? Give yourself a longer lead time than I did. We were in a kind of crunch because we wanted to transition over to the 22-inch web for 2010 budgetary savings. I just became publisher in October, so it's been a bit hectic. The other thing is to fully involve your newsroom and graphics people and if you have someone on staff that you can appoint project leader/central funnel who will act as the liason between the employees involved in the process and the corporate re-design folks, that helps! Maybe educate the readers more in advance, too. Don't be afraid of change, though, and keep an open mind.

latest blogs

  • Staff

Email newsletter

Sign up for our newsletter and have the top headlines from your community delivered right to your inbox
ERROR: Macro footer/main/js/comscore is missing!