Tahlequah Daily Press

Columns

February 9, 2014

From Our Town

Newspapers are changing in a digital age

TAHLEQUAH — Newspapers are changing in a digital age

Change is inevitable. If for a split-second you disagree with that statement, take a look in the mirror. Most of us have changed dramatically since we were 21. We have bulges, sags and a few more pounds that we lug around with us every day.

There have been changes at the Daily Press recently. Some have commented “constructively” about the noticeable variations. A few have been downright disgusted with the larger photos and a more dramatic presentation. Others have stated that it’s “a breath of fresh air.”

When things change, especially when it’s something that’s been presented in the same manner for years, there’s bound to be those who like and dislike the changes.

After serving 15 newspapers and magazines over the last 30 years, I recognize that as publisher, I am just the caretaker of the Daily Press. Someone will follow me at this newspaper and do the job far better than I. For now, it’s my responsibility.

Let me give you a bit of insight into why the Daily Press is evolving.

First, we have been become a society that is not oriented to reading. We watch the evening news on one of several broadcast and cable news networks. Our senses are stimulated by the visual.

Allow me to explain further. The world’s most widely read publication is People magazine. Why? Most of the pages of that magazine are “photocentric.” By that I mean photos tell the story and words offer clarification of the photography. (Keep in mind that the younger generation is accustomed to television, iPods, iPads, MacBookPros and a host of other technical tools that are visually driven.)

Second, most newspapers are owned and operated by older, stodgy publishers opposed to reaching out to a younger, visually sensitive generation. Many newspapers are still using what the industry calls “keylines.” Keylines date back to the 18th century to separate wooden or lead type. It’s time to let go of the 18th century style of newspaper production and take a leap of faith into the 21st century.

While I am not naïve enough to believe that all of the readers of the Daily Press will appreciate the efforts of this newspaper’s staff, I am convinced that we will blaze a new path in this industry by introducing a new look in this digital culture.

At the last newspaper in which I served in central Minnesota, I introduced similar changes, perhaps more radical than those introduced thus far in the Daily Press. (Ironically, our designer was a native Oklahoman.) Within one month of our first shot at a new look, we were recognized by Newseum, a museum of newspapers from around the world, as one of the top 10 newspapers in the world. Yep, we were singled out by peers at the Washington, D.C.-based institution as one of the best newspapers of 900 dailies evaluated. Within a year-and-a-half, we had been recognized a total of 13 times as being one of the top 10 daily newspapers in the world.

I say that to reassure all of our faithful readers that the changes that are surfacing will place the Daily Press among those newspapers being recognized as among the best in Oklahoma, the U.S. and the world.

Yes, I realize the most important folks in the world are right here. As a staff, our goal is to make you proud of the newspaper we give you.

I do understand that Tahlequah “owns” the Daily Press. I am just its caretaker. That’s why I’d like to invite you to comment about your newspaper. Don’t just unload at your morning coffee group. Give me a call or email me; better yet, if you have the time, just stop by the office and bend my ear. My phone number is (918) 456-8833, Ext. 12, or email me at khansen@tahlequahdailypress.com. If you have the time, stop by the office at 106 W. Second St. in Tahlequah – we’re just off Muskogee Avenue.

I’d like to hear from all of you.

Keith Hansen

Publisher

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