Sunday's Super Bowl won't have the lone kick-off. The News Bulletin's weekend edition — available on racks Feb. 1-4 — officially kicks off a project a year in the making. (Editor's Note: Due to this week's storm, this has been rescheduled for the Wednesday, Feb. 5, 2014 edition.)
I like to call it "Bold. Fresh. Page-turner." It basically means you'll increasingly see the value of the News Bulletin's print edition.
The "Bold" part of the equation means we'll be printing a particularly visual newspaper with more analysis and extra information than ever before.
For instance, Matthew Brown's report, ("Prom fashion takes focus on Friday," Page A1) could have informed readers about Crestview High School's prom fashion show, what it's about, when it's scheduled and how much it costs to attend. And that would have been fine on CNB Online's home page.
However, print readers pay for their news, so they, naturally, deserve more than a who-what-when-where story. So the same report includes a sidebar about prom fashion do's and dont's and an interview with one of the students modeling tuxedos.
The "Fresh" piece of the puzzle means our valued subscribers will see stepped up emphasis on feature reporting. Examples are reporter Brian Hughes' crowd-pleasing stories on the nicknames behind North Okaloosa landmarks and why just 10 miles separate many Northwest Florida communities.
Our readers won't find those stories anywhere else. That's because our print edition's shift in story direction, which we're currently phasing in, isn't always tied to police blotters or current events. For instance, our Jan. 29 cover story, ("Fearless creators") features the Pink Pencil art club, which you may not have heard of since only 10 women belong to it.
That's the point.
With North Okaloosa's influx of residents, particularly military families, we want to complement our usual reporting with stories that help you get better acquainted with your new home. Stories that, even if you've lived here forever, move you to take a second look at that club or organization you saw on our Bulletin Board calendar but never had the chance to check out.
And we want to be the only news organization to bring you that story. (Betcha that's the case for that Pink Pencil club.)
We respect our readers, and will tell you right now that, because we have to pay the bills, this premium content will appear only in the print edition. That brings added value to the newspaper with a plan to ensure we can keep covering North Okaloosa for another 39 years!
So, what does this mean for newspaper sections? Well, that's my favorite part: more news! Which is the "Page-turner" portion.
With help from our local recreational and youth leagues, we will gradually expand the Sports section's offerings, feature player profiles and dig deeper to understand who these young athletes are off the field, too. In addition to star players, you'll also hear about the beloved bench warmers. Rest assured, you'll still see the games' play-by-play action; it'll just move back a page so that the newest stories come first.
Community, Military, Government, Health, Lifestyle, Education, Law Enforcement, Business and Faith will remain, but the pages will become increasingly pleasing to the eye and often explain the news' significance. (I see that critique all the time — "Why is this news?" — on our Facebook page, and have heard you loud and clear!)
I loved when Brian pointed out that View From the Stage's casting for "The Miracle Worker" represents the Crestview theatre troupe's shift to perform — and public's ability to view — complex drama right here where we live. Readers often say they have to travel to Fort Walton Beach or elsewhere to see a certain kind of theatre production or eat at a preferred restaurant, so it's beneficial to spell out how needs are being satisfied.
The Opinion page, which has evolved in content and tone since its fall 2012 revival, will remain the place I like to call a "public campfire." Here, we'll continue to go around the circle, taking turns, to share what's great about our community and identify areas for improvement. However, we're all neighbors and should keep the discussion civil. Passionately debating the merits of a local city council's vote, for instance, is OK, but we will not publish personal attacks or remarks that do not respect our local leaders' office and our neighbors' dignity.
There's more in store, like complementing our Facebook and Twitter outlets with another social media channel — Instagram! — but there's not enough space to tell it all. I just hope you'll like what you see. It'll be a more positive, increasingly community-oriented newspaper to complement increased offerings of who-what-when-where stories that will mostly go to crestviewbulletin.com readers.
Change excites me, particularly when it makes sense. And what makes more sense than rewarding our loyal subscribers with deeper stories and analysis in a more visually appealing publication that enhances the connection with their community? And, for our web readers, offering a more robust selection of crime, government and other timely news?
Reader habits change, so we evolve. Rest assured, I read every last Facebook and crestviewbulletin.com comment we receive, so your voice is always heard. And anyone who's phoned the newsroom can tell you I have a listening ear. Dawn, our receptionist, might say you caught me on deadline, but when you get a call back a few hours later, you might want to clear all appointments because I'm completely yours. No one will tell you I rushed them off the phone. (I probably get that from my mother.)
With that said, here's a thank-you to an untold number of you for helping making Bold. Fresh. Page-turner a reality.
This is your newspaper, and all I did was keep a running list of everything you told me you wanted to see in the paper, identified the most popular requests, and came up with a game plan.
Ultimately, this is all for you. Enjoy!