By: Joel Davis

Three Newspapers Launch Redesigns

Three Northern California dailies are making significant changes
in look and content.

The McClatchy Co.-owned Sacramento Bee unveiled a new
design and new features on April 3 while also switching to a
slightly narrower page width, the increasingly popular 50-inch
web format. “Our redesign and new features blend innovation with
tradition in a way that invigorates The Bee while
maintaining the values and high standards our readers expect,”
said Bee President and Publisher Janis Besler Heaphy.

Bee ombudsman Sanders LaMont said reader reaction has been
mostly favorable. “One common complaint was that The Bee
now looks too much like USA Today, and too unlike the old
Bee,” LaMont wrote on April 8. “But some readers seem to
think the new look is a fine idea. A check of the first responses
shows the general comments about the overall look were running
about 2-to-1 in favor.”

A week after the Bee’s redesign, the Knight Ridder-owned
San Jose (Calif.) Mercury News on Monday unveiled a
redesign and new features also coinciding with a 50-inch web page
reduction. “The new Mercury News folds into a more compact
package and is easier to handle than the old model, a look we
think our busy readers will like,” said newly appointed
Mercury News Publisher Joe Natoli.

“For the environment, the 50-inch web means less paper, as well
as less energy consumed in paper recycling and manufacturing. For
the newspaper, it means a savings in the cost of newsprint, a
significant expense at a time when the Silicon Valley economy is
slowing,” he said.

In addition to several content changes, the paper is
reconfiguring its zoned editions to focus on four areas.

In nearby San Francisco, the Hearst-owned San Francisco
Chronicle will introduce a revamped Sunday paper on April 29.
Executive Editor Phil Bronstein told E&P Online that the Sunday
paper, which was long an often-awkward mix of the former jointly
owned Chronicle and San Francisco Examiner, will be
“a more intelligent” paper in both look and content. Perhaps the
most obvious change will be putting the comics inside the paper;
the Chronicle is one of the few large metropolitan dailies
with them on the outside on Sundays.

Joel Davis ( is West Coast editor for E&P.

Copyright 2001, Editor & Publisher.

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