Changes in News be­gin to­day

The Dallas Morning News - - News - GRANT MOISE

In my 10 months as pub­lisher of The Dal­las Morn­ing News , my team and i have spent many hours lis­ten­ing to read­ers to make sure we un­der­stand what our com­mu­nity wants from us.

Along with Editor Mike Wil­son and other senior lead­ers, I met with heads of uni­ver­si­ties, health care lead­ers, CEOS of our re­gion’s top com­pa­nies, re­li­gious lead­ers, arts lead­ers, some of our great­est phil­an­thropic ste­wards, and most im­por­tant, our sub­scribers.

We asked three ques­tions: What do you want us to cover? What do you value most about our cov­er­age? Where can we im­prove? Once we asked, the hour passed quickly as the feed­back was vast and help­ful.

We also con­vened fo­cus groups, sur­veyed 1,862 print and dig­i­tal read­ers and pored over tens of thou­sands of data points that show us what you read dig­i­tally.

All of this work was aimed at help­ing us un­der­stand how to best serve you. Ev­ery­one knows lo­cal jour­nal­ism is a tough busi­ness; just the other day, we re­ported that we laid off 43 peo­ple across The Dal­las Morn­ing News to re­duce our costs and make room to in­vest for the fu­ture. It’s vi­tally im­por­tant that we give you the news­pa­per you want if we are go­ing to win this fight.

We were en­cour­aged by your an­swers. We be­lieve our fun­da­men­tal mis­sion is to pro­vide news about our com­mu­ni­ties and our state, and you said you agree. You want break­ing news. You want to know what lo­cal and state gov­ern­ments are up to. You want to know if kids are get­ting ed­u­cated and roads are get­ting fixed. You want in­ves­tiga­tive sto­ries.

You also want to know where to dine out and which con­certs you shouldn’t miss. You want to read about Dirk and Dak and the sports star com­ing out of your lo­cal school.

Yes, you want a smart roundup of world and na­tional news in your A sec­tion, and no, you don’t want us mess­ing with your comics and puzzles.

You also told us what you need less of — life­style tips you can get on Youtube, stock price in­for­ma­tion you can get on your smart­phones, and so on.

My big­gest take­away from all of this lis­ten­ing is that you root for our suc­cess and un­der­stand how a healthy news­pa­per strength­ens the com­mu­nity. I also learned that while you value the role we play as watch­dogs, you want us to shine a light on the peo­ple and or­ga­ni­za­tions that are mak­ing this state and re­gion great places to live.

So, what are we go­ing to do with what you told us?

Let me take a mo­ment to walk you through the changes you’ ll see in your news­pa­per be­gin­ning to­day.

Metro & Busi­ness

In the Sun­day Busi­ness sec­tion, we’re adding nu­mer­ous fea­tures based on your feed­back. Among them:

An Econ­omy & You page that will host con­sumer­ori­ented writ­ers such as Liz We­ston and Michelle Sin­gle­tary.

Ex­panded com­modi­ties and mu­tual funds list­ings with a fo­cus on re­cap­ping the trad­ing week. The pop­u­lar Mot­ley Fool col­umn will round out this mar­ket cov­er­age.

The Eco­nomic Snap­shot graphic that now ap­pears on Mon­days will move into the Sun­day sec­tion twice a month. It high­lights trends in var­i­ous seg­ments of D­FW’S vi­brant econ­omy.

As al­ways, Sun­day Busi­ness will fea­ture col­umns by Mitchell Sch­nur­man and Ch­eryl Hall, along with in­depth staff re­ports on the lo­cal busi­ness com­mu­nity. You told us you are de­lighted to see per­sonal fi­nance ex­pert Scott Burns come out of re­tire­ment; his col­umn will ap­pear twice a month.

On Mon­days, we will not have a Busi­ness sec­tion, but will run break­ing busi­ness sto­ries on the front page or in Metro as news dic­tates.

Tues­day through Satur­day, we will run busi­ness news in a com­bined Metro & Busi­ness sec­tion. With most read­ers telling us they are get­ting stock price in­for­ma­tion in real time, we’ ll elim­i­nate daily stock tables, keep­ing our fo­cus on lo­cal news that is orig­i­nal and can­not be found else­where.

Arts & Life

Our fea­tures pages will now fo­cus on the sub­jects read­ers told us they care about most: deeply re­ported sto­ries on arts and cul­ture, food and things to do. We’ ll con­cen­trate that cov­er­age in three sec­tions a week:

Sun­day Arts & Life, the flag­ship sec­tion com­bin­ing arts, books, travel and per­son­al­ity pro­files. Sun­day A&L has proved pop­u­lar since we re­launched it in a new mag­a­zinestyle for­mat last April.

Guide, our pop­u­lar Fri­day tabloid sec­tion on how and where to spend your free time, from con­certs to fes­ti­vals to shop­ping. As al­ways, you’ ll get our ro­bust restau­rant list­ings and ex­pert re­views from our din­ing critic, Micha­lene Bu­sico.

Wed­nes­day Arts & Life will con­tinue to fo­cus on food. We’ ll fea­ture cook­ing tips, recipes and cock­tails, cook­book author in­ter­views and ideas for hol­i­day and everyday en­ter­tain­ing.

Fear not, Char­lie Brown fans! You will still get your comics and puzzles ev­ery day, in­clud­ing Sun­days when we run our color comics. On days when we don’t run a stand­alone fea­tures sec­tion — Mon­day, Tues­day, Thurs­day and Satur­day — we will pro­vide a sep­a­rate sec­tion of comics, puzzles and daily fea­tures, as we do now on Fri­days.

Opin­ion

Mon­day through Satur­day, we’ ll com­bine our ed­i­to­rial and View­points pages into a sin­gle page each day, with a mix of edi­to­ri­als, opin­ion pieces and your let­ters. This page will ap­pear on the in­side back page of the A sec­tion.

Sun­day Points will re­main a stand­alone sec­tion, fea­tur­ing the views of our ed­i­to­rial board, think pieces on is­sues of the day, po­lit­i­cal car­toons and in­ter­views with news­mak­ers.

We’ve heard from many read­ers that the role of re­li­gion in so­ci­ety de­serves more cov­er­age. So we’re also launch­ing a new ini­tia­tive called Faith Fo­rum, ar­ti­cles fo­cus­ing on how faith in­forms ma­jor de­ci­sions in peo­ple’s lives. A panel of North Texas faith lead­ers has agreed to ad­vise on top­ics and con­trib­ute ar­ti­cles. The es­says will not ap­pear on any par­tic­u­lar sched­ule, but as news war­rants.

Of course, all of these changes will be mir­rored in the e­paper, which is an on­line replica of the printed paper.

We be­lieve in lo­cal jour­nal­ism as deeply to­day as G.B. Dealey did when he founded The Dal­las Morn­ing News 134 years ago. You’ve shown you do, too. Thank you for your sup­port, and please let us know what you think of the changes by email­ing us at com­[email protected]­las­news.com.

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