Well the last of our big changes has rolled out this week. When the decision was made to begin outsourcing the printing of our publications we knew this day would come.
We were one of the last papers to still print on the big broadsheets here in our area. In order for our printing partner to press our paper they would have to completely stop production and remove the paper that the other publications use, load ours and run our paper and then repeat the process to go back to printing everyone else's papers. It was time consuming and not something that could continue indefinitely.
Over the past several weeks the staff of the Mountain Home News has studied different sample papers from throughout the area trying to decide what format suited us and our readers the best. It was not something that we took lightly as we tried to decide how our paper would look both on the rack and in your mailbox. We know change can be hard at times, but we feel like we chose the best possible new setup for our papers and community.
For months now I have read papers from all over the state looking for new ideas. It is no secret if you read my editorials that I accepted this position without having any experience, my whole editor education has came from my co-workers, our publishing partners and from pouring over everyone's papers. Each week there is a stack of papers well over a foot tall that sits beside the end table in my living room. I spend my evenings and weekends looking through them while highlighting and cutting out styles that I feel will work well in the MHN. I have slowly began implementing some of these ideas and plan to continue to study the other papers as I continue to try to grow in my position here at the paper.
Over the past couple of weeks as the deadline for this final change began to loom I slowly started building my new template, tweaking things here and there. Some changes are probably only noticeable to a few people beside myself and the other employees. Others are quite obvious.
One of those big changes being a front page that looks quite a bit different. Some items have just moved to another portion of the page, while others have been moved to an entirely different area in the paper. The "briefs" section is no longer at its long time spot going down the left hand side. With the narrower style of paper I wanted to leave that first column open for stories and now the briefs are on an inside page. I also added a section across the bottom of the page where we show some of the highlights of the week's stories and have included an index to easily find the page you are looking for.
One of the biggest things I've taken from all of this studying of other papers is how they use photography to grab a readers attention. I have so many cool things that I cannot wait to begin implementing as the right photos and stories arise.
In the changing world that we live in social media has proven that a photo can say a thousand words. Some of the papers I look at these days seem to almost have that social media feel to them in the way they present photos and ask for reader response. That is one reason I have continuously asked for photos from the community. These do not have to be of some special event like AFAD or the fair, but as I have said before can literally be of anything from your daily life. I want our readers to feel that they can submit those same types of photos and have the chance of seeing them in print. Like the photos of the little boy and the Honor Guard last week.
This past week things were a bit slow news wise and I am back on my own in the editorial department, so unfortunately there was a lot of what we call filler-stories from other sources- in our last issue. I do my best to make sure any type of filler I use is pertinent to our readers and area, but always want as much local stuff as possible. I am beginning to get a lot of coach and parent submitted sports stories and I am extremely grateful for that. I know a lot of people were wondering where our coverage of the high school football team is and we finally have a story this week. Though it did take us a little while to all get on the same page to make sure we had information in time to go to press we will hopefully be updating you on how the boys are doing on a weekly basis from now on. I hope you are enjoying hearing about some of our other youth activities like FFA which is a program that is in its second year at MHHS. The swimming team is also in its early stages here in Mountain Home and after talking to the coach we will hopefully be sharing stories about them on a weekly basis as well here shortly.
To our Glenns Ferry and Rimrock readers, we would love to be able to keep readers updated on your teams as well. Please submit stats, summaries and photos to us on how you are doing.
I hope all of you are enjoying the new and different things we are doing here at the Mountain Home News. I also again want to remind everyone that I am open to story ideas and suggestions. Please feel free to contact me at anytime at firstname.lastname@example.org or (208)587-3331. Or you can even stop by the office to buy a paper and chat. As always thank you for buying or subscribing to the Mountain Home News.