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A new, more local direction for the Chronicle

After joining the Chronicle team last summer and moving to the area, the Chronicle became my home newspaper.

I’ve been able to evaluate our effectiveness as a new reader and as a member of the Chronicle’s leadership team. One of my primary responsibilities is to work with the Chronicle team along with readers and advertisers across “Chronicle Country” to build on the 128-year tradition of service provided to readers, advertisers and the community. I’ve also met many in the community who have told me what they like about the Chronicle and what we can do better.

Newspaper companies everywhere are going through severe hardships driven by a variety of factors. Costs are rising across the board and newsprint prices reached historic highs in 2008. We cannot avoid the impact of the nationwide economic crisis and the steep loss of advertising revenue affecting every newspaper. However, as we rise to current challenges, we believe we can still do a better job for you. We are committed to providing relevant news, information and entertainment to readers and effective marketing solutions for advertisers.

Our industry is faced with finding the best method of delivering content as consumers' habits change. People still want printed newspapers; in fact, more people continue to read newspapers each day than watch the Super Bowl each year. However, consumers can find information on the Internet and from other sources. One of the great opportunities we have is to move toward a future in which you can get what you need, when you need it and in the format you choose.

We’ve determined that our future is to be your LOCAL newspaper. Going forward, we will place nearly all our emphasis and resources on providing news and information specific to the Tri-Cities and western Kane County. The cornerstone of every decision going forward will be driven by a new mantra – LOCAL, LOCAL, LOCAL.

Our future is the delivery of information through a combination of printed newspapers and our Web site. We will continue to be the seven-day source for news in the Tri-Cities and western Kane County, but we are changing the frequency of our printed newspaper. We are combining our Saturday and Sunday papers into a Weekend edition that will be delivered on Saturday. The Weekend edition will include everything you’ve come to expect from your Saturday and Sunday papers and then some. Because of the economic realities we face, we will eliminate the printed Monday edition. We will continue to report on events and breaking news on our Web site on Sundays and Mondays.

We also looked at shifting reader preferences and ways to use newsprint more efficiently. Therefore, we decided to change the format of The Chronicle to a compact (tabloid) format.

The “new” Chronicle that incorporates these changes will launch Tuesday, March 17.

Here’s a sample of things we’re working on for the “new” Chronicle:

• A Thursday entertainment section that gets readers ready to enjoy the weekend, whether they choose to enjoy the culture in the Tri-Cities, head out to a movie, or make a day trip to enjoy museums or other cultural offerings.

• Expanded food content on Wednesdays, including readers' favorite recipes.

• A meet-your-neighbor feature that introduces readers to people in their communities they might not otherwise get to know.

• A return to a weekly Neighbors section, with all the reader-submitted community news readers enjoy.

• More community sports content that focuses on club sports, athletic and sports opportunities for grown-ups and a weekly celebration of kids' club sports accomplishments.

• More opportunities for readers to interact with the paper and staffers online through blogs and other interactive tools.

• We will be launching broadcasts on our Web site, updating you on the latest local news via each weekday afternoon.

• A new emphasis on your voices and ideas on the Opinion pages. Yes, Sound Off will continue to appear in the Weekend Chronicle.

• More content that delves into the story behind the story – with a renewed focus on how government, school board, etc., decisions affect your life, your money, your home and your family.

Look for the "new" Chronicle on March 17. Between now and then, you’ll be hearing more about our plans from editor Joe Grace. Thanks for your readership and support of the Chronicle as we strive to improve our products and be the best local information company for the Tri-Cities and western Kane County for the next century.

• Don T. Bricker is publisher of the Chronicle News Group. Reach him at

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