A year ago, The Augusta Chronicle added a stand–alone Sunday Opinion section. We also increased our coverage of local community events and public safety. We increased the number of events covered by our Spotted photographers.
This year, we added two business pages each Sunday from the Wall Street Journal.
This newspaper has been evolving for 228 years. We continuously evaluate what we offer in print and online (and, now, in the apps and for mobile devices) trying to find the right mix to provide the most value.
A lot of that value comes in the form of local news. What beats should reporters cover? What stories do our readers need to know about? What events should we send a photographer to? What will provide the most important information to the greatest number of people who want it?
But other parts of the newspaper – the comics, the crossword puzzles, the national and international news coverage, opinion columnists, the weather page and feature stories – come from syndicates or wire services.
So, it was only a coincidence that representatives from two of these syndicates made their annual pilgrimages to Augusta.
They came prepared, with color brochures, samples of columns and new comics by the dozens.
We talked about their products you read each week – For Better or For Worse, Stone Soup, the Sunday crossword, Charles Krauthammer and other features.
They told me of the newest comic strips – each offering to replace one from the other vendor with one of their own.
They told me of the latest features – health, food, fitness, lifestyles.
They told me of the insightful political columnists – liberals, conservatives, centrists.
The told me of the columnists’ credentials – TV doctors, Wall Street lawyers, retirement specialists.
And at the end of their presentations, each asked the same two questions:
What are you looking for? What do you want?
The questions were aimed at me. But they were really asking you.
The readers have always been a part of that constant evolution of a newspaper.
Sometimes it’s a survey. Sometimes it’s a phone call. Sometimes it’s a questionnaire in the newspaper that you clip out and mail back to us. Sometimes it’s a series of tryouts.
So, what are you looking for? What do you want?
Do you want more liberal voices in the opinion section? Is there a comic strip whose time has come? Is the crossword too easy? The Sunday Suduko too hard?
Do you want more storytelling? More hard news? More good news? A deeper look at how your tax dollars are being spent? More financial advice? Less sports? New comics?
Call me. Write a letter or e-mail. The evolution continues.