Big ‘Monitor’ changes start Wednesday
On Wednesday – once we’re all on the other side of summer’s last weekend – we’ll begin rolling out substantial changes to the Monitor.
First to come will be two expanded local sections.
The Forum is a new opinion page intended to serve as the forum in which residents of Greater Concord can join in a lively, civil discussion on topics of the day. It’s not about our opinion, in other words, it’s about yours. The Forum will build on the Monitor’s tradition of publishing a great many letters to the editor, My Turn essays and columns by the rotating board of contributors. It will feature an innovative layout, timely subjects and fresh ideas – as fresh, say, as “The News in Haiku.” (Get out your pencil and start counting syllables.)
The Forum will run five days a week and will be brought to life by Opinion Editor Felice Belman, whose energy and creativity are such that she’s already conceived three weeks’ worth of pages. With the design help of editor Clay Wirestone and graphic artist Charlotte Thibault, they’ll be a dynamic addition to the paper.
But even Belman can’t sustain the section alone. We’re counting on you to join in what we expect will be a fun, thought-provoking and far-reaching conversation. We’ll let you know how to participate in the Wednesday edition.
Also on Wednesday, we’ll introduce Hometown, a reimagining of our longstanding Neighbors page, dedicated to providing you with a deeper connection to the people, organizations and events in your community. Hometown will run six days a week, and it too will have an interactive character. We’re looking for photographs of club or community events, brags from proud family members or neighbors, even celebrations of first birthdays. Hometown will become the new home for the Insiders’ column about the day’s Concord events, and it will include tips on activities from around the area, too.
Community News Editor Noelle Stokes will oversee Hometown, with the help of Insider Editor Ben Conant. If you’re planning an event, or earn recognition, don’t be surprised to get a call from Stokes, looking to ask a few questions for a featured article. When the section debuts, we’ll spell out how you can contribute.
Other changes will follow through the month.
As the fall season gears up, look for more local stories on a variety of topics in our sports section, including our own high school power rankings. We’ll be highlighting a high school athlete of the week in print and video, and the sports staff – Editor Sandy Smith, Assistant Editor Jeff Novotny and writers Tim O’Sullivan and Drew Bonifant – will collaborate on an online sports blog. Online Editor Kevin Deane will handle the video.
We’ll also be updating our puzzle and comic offerings – taking away a few features and relocating a few others, while adding a new puzzle and comic. Look for these changes in mid-September.
As my phrasing suggests, we’re doing some subtraction as well as addition. For example, there will be fewer pages devoted to the national and international news and sports stories that are widely available elsewhere. Instead, we’ll use that space to give you more access to the news, events and ideas that are central to our community. The choices we’re making are influenced by a need to save money where we can, as well as a determination to keep the Monitor fresh and our local coverage strong.
These are changing times, and we are changing with them. I’m confident the newspaper we’ll deliver over the next month, and going forward, will be a better Monitor – and one committed, as ever, to the vital role of connecting and informing the community we serve. We’ll continue to push ourselves to bring you more local coverage, to deepen our presence in the community and to find new ways to deliver the information you need.
(Mark Travis is publisher and executive editor of the Monitor. He can be reached at 369-3250 or at email@example.com.)