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Thank you for feedback on changes

In the last four weeks, there have been some design and editorial changes to the Valley Times-News. As these changes have happened, feedback has been received from the community. This feedback is appreciated and encouraged, and has helped me understand what the community likes and expects from its newspaper on a daily basis.

Design changes to the front page, including moving the Bible verse to an inside page, trimming the weather information and adding a table of contents, have brought some pleased and displeased responses. We are still getting phone calls and email messages asking for an explanation. This is encouraging, as it shows the community cares and is interested in the newspaper.

The reasons behind the changes to the front page are these. We wanted the front page to have as much room as possible to run stories and photos, trimming the bottom banner was an easy way to add more room without changing too much.

The Bible verse will now run daily on an inside page, larger and longer than before.

It has also been pointed out that the paper has been a bit thinner, with less pages, and has had fewer stories over the past few editions.

There are two main reasons for this short-term issue. The first being the fact that I am getting settled in, learning the area and taking time to become acquainted with as many people as I can. The second being the fact that we are currently short-staffed on the editorial front.

This second point is most crucial, in that currently there are only two people trying to cover all the news, both local and sports, for four cities. This has created a few short-term gaps.

That being said, we will have a third reporter starting work with the Valley Times-News on Jan. 2, Sam Chandler. We are very excited about this addition to the staff, and Chandler’s presence next week will provide an immediate increase in daily production. In the meantime, we will continue to do the best job that we can, but our daily editorial capacity is about to increase greatly heading in to next week.

To reiterate a point I made a month ago, the area deserves nothing less than the best newspaper possible. All I ask is that this staff be given the chance to deliver a top-level daily news product to your door. I remain confident we can do just this, and look forward to your continued responses. Please continue to read and make us aware of what you think.

 

Steven Thomas is managing editor of the Valley Times-News and can be reached by email at steven.thomas@valleytimes-news.com, or by phone at 334-644-8012.