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  • Q&A: Missouri weekly in incubator program launches redesign

  • The Aurora (Mo.) Advertiser recently launched a new design as part of the GateHouse News & Interactive incubator program. News & Interactive worked with publisher/editor Judy Dingman and associate/sports editor Amanda Gire on the project. Below are some of their thoughts several weeks after launch.

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  • The Aurora (Mo.) Advertiser recently launched a new design as part of the GateHouse News & Interactive incubator program. News & Interactive worked with publisher/editor Judy Dingman and associate/sports editor Amanda Gire on the project. Below are some of their thoughts several weeks after launch.
    Q: Why did you decide to redesign your newspaper?
    It was something brought to us by corporate. However, it was time for a facelift. At 125 years of age, we needed a tweak here and there.
     
    Q: What can you tell us about your community?
    We basically serve three communities: Aurora, population 7,400; Marionville, 2,113; and Verona, 714. The area surrounding the towns is used mostly for agricultural purposes. Circulation for our Friday newspaper is 2,400.
    Aurora is located about midway between the two largest cities in southwest Missouri, Springfield and Joplin. The largest employer in Aurora is Ag Forte, a turkey hatchery, with 350 employees; the school district with 275 employees; Wal-Mart with 250; and St. John's Hospital--Aurora with 215. The median age in the blue-collar town is 36.1.
     
    Q: What changes did you make as part of your redesign?
    We are using a different format with a variety of new fonts and styles. Maybe an easy way to describe the new look is "more modern." There are a few features we have yet to implement. Considering we have two people in the editorial department, we will be continuing implementation as we become familiar with the changes.
    Q: How have readers reacted to the redesign?
    Some say it is easier to read. Some like the modern look. Although we have not changed the basic content, one man likes the "new" content and it being "less of a gossip rag."
    Q: What advice do you have for papers considering a redesign?
    "The redesign was not as difficult as I had imagined," said Judy Dingman, publisher/managing editor. "I guess I planned for the worst and hoped for the best. Change is good for all of us, even in areas of the country that are pretty well set in their ways."
    "Listen to the ideas presented by the designers, but mold it into what fits your community best," said Amanda Gire, associate/sports editor.

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