Trib redesign, Day 2: One reader, a few thoughts

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A quick follow-up to yesterday’s thoughts from a reader” on the revamped Chicago Tribune …

  • Dynamic front page – the hot markets story doesn’t hurt – but please, please, don’t jump stories unnecessarily  from Page 1 into a complete new section! See how annoying that was? (Re: the otherwise well done story on “is a depression likely?”) This habit was a huge annoyance notably in the Boston Globe well into the ’90s (I guess because of press limitations), and it’s irritating to see it return here. Contain a compact story to Page 1 and tease to the deeper text elsewhere if you have to.
  • Content that appeals to me today: Trib has been pitching this as a rethink, not just a new look, and there seems to be good, relevant stuff throughout. All I can go on is what appeals to me, so here goes. Nation and local stories about nursing homes and nursing (affects family and friends, I may pass these stories along online); a news feature on “fire spinning” trend and cool monthly performances on the lakeshore near my house (but hey, thanks for spoiling one of my Chicago secrets!); clear market-doom analysis including Greising channeling U. of C. experts (a good reminder that Chicago can be a source of world-class perspective); almost a full page of story obits. Great to see real people featured in story obits – reminds me how well the St. Pete Times does this, the best I’ve seen in the country. (I’ll be curious if New Trib will keep this up. For years the Readership Institute and others have said obits are key among what readers want more of; yet at redesign time, major metro redesigns either ignore this outright, or when space or staff gets tight, obits are the first to go.)
  • Some local readers are complaining online about photos being too large. While I’m a big fan of strong photos played well, I agree in some cases this seems true. This often comes down to personal taste, so I won’t get into specifics, but if you have the physical paper, take a spin through the first section and see what you think.
  • Good to see 2 editorial cartoons (in color! how shocking!) including one by a fellow St. Pete Times alum, Clay Bennett – but isn’t Chicago big-league enough to have its own guy or gal wielding pen as sword? We have to borrow from Chattanooga and Birmingham? Come on.
  • I still find the half-page world briefs roundup a chore to read. Red Eye has done this much better in many incarnations in the past. Pull a template from the archives, maybe?
  • Finally, that home-delivery coupon offering a 4-day deal for $1 … even cheaper than the online special! …  something to consider.

Congrats to hard-working Tribsters for trying (and often succeeding) to break the mold.

Other views: Readers’ reactions, as measured by a Crain’s poll.

Robb Montgomery’s video of man-on-the-street reaction to Day One. (I like the guy who does not care for the photo of the scary woman with uncombed hair – the one on the front page, not Ask Amy).

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