Get ready for a new look for your newspaper

Published 10:27 am Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Pothole Prairie by Tim Engstrom

On Sunday, be ready for an all-new Albert Lea Tribune on your doorstep or in your box. It will have an all-new design and has many features that are a direct result of feedback from you.

Back in February, Publisher Crystal Miller and I hosted a forum of 20 select readers, and they let us know what they liked and disliked about the Albert Lea Tribune. We heard them loud and clear. Here are some of their suggestions that you will see in the Sunday paper:

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Easier-to-read type.

More navigable newspaper with clear page titles.

Bigger obituary photos.

Bigger wedding and engagement photos.

More dominant news photos.

Greater emphasis on arts, entertainment, history and culture.

More public records

More concise presentation of regional news. (Fewer long wire stories.)

Easier to consume statistics on Sports Page.

Larger political cartoons on Opinions Page.

No more copy on brown or gray backgrounds.

More community-oriented content.

New weather icons.

You still will get many of the features you like in the Tribune, such as:

Daily stories about Albert Lea and the communities in the Albert Lea area.

Profiles about people.

Detailed coverage of local courts and crime.

Local news remains more important than state, national and world news.

A vibrant Opinion Page and a well-rounded Sports Page.

Comics, horoscopes, puzzles.

An American flag in the paper every day.

More locally written editorials than most newspapers our size and frequent guest columns.

And coming soon, but not this Sunday, as part of the redesign we are implementing more of your suggestions. This is a result of new flexibility the new design gives us and changes in staffing in the newsroom.

More business news.

More education news.

More health news.

More arts news.

A regular Sunday columnist. (We have someone who is going to be the talk of the town.)

More directions in how to get your content published in the newspaper.

As much as the Tribune pushes into the Internet and social media — and, believe you me, we have better numbers than even some Rochester-based media outlets, which shows what a sense of community Albert Lea has — there remains a singular fact: It is very cool to get your name or photograph in the newspaper.

Everyone is online. Heck, being online even has a feeling of invading personal space, right? But being printed on paper, that is honorable, special and dignified; well, usually, if a person is not in trouble with the law. We want to do our best to get your scrapbook items — weddings, engagements, generational photos, check passings, awards, promotions, scholarships — in the newspaper. But it requires you to let us know. And it requires us to set up the means to make this two-way conversation function at its best.

See, to me, community journalism is a mix of both the solid, reliable news that people come to expect from a daily newspaper and the cut-out-of-the-paper content like church volleyball league winners, grip-and-grin submitted photos and my-kid-caught-a-fish pictures.

To that point, this redesign is a beginning, not an end, to the improvement of your daily newspaper. We want to flex our muscles and show that we are not merely a good daily newspaper but a great one. That’s our goal.

And the proof is going to be found in the team behind the paper, one that is more team-oriented and more cohesive than ever before. Frankly, it’s a great place to practice journalism.

We look forward to your feedback. But please, send it in the form of letters to the editor so other readers can see your comments, too. Letters can be sent via email or via postal mail 808 W. Front St., Albert Lea, MN 56007.

Thank you for reading the Albert Lea Tribune.


Tribune Managing Editor Tim Engstrom’s column appears every Tuesday.

About Tim Engstrom

Tim Engstrom is the editor of the Albert Lea Tribune. He resides in Albert Lea with his wife, two sons and dog.

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