Sunday, March 26, 2006

The New Star

OK, here's your chance to let me have it -- hope you saw the new Star.

Questions: What do you like? Dislike? Favorite new feature? Least favorite new feature? Anything else?


I appreciate your feedback.

Skip

32 comments:

Trey Faile said...

Wow! I love my new STAR! I was so excited Sunday morning when I opened it.. My mom was like "it's just a paper." Thanks for keeping us up-to date on things that really matter, including local news and such. I am particularly interested in news on the new Cleveland County Schools. I am glad the Star is leading the way in uncovering truths with this new huge school district. Congrats on the new STAR! I am in love with it!

Skip Foster said...

Thanks, Trey, for those kind words.

We've had some pushback on the new obits and weddings format -- what did you (or others) think of those?

Thanks again.

Trey Faile said...

I enjoy the new font and page setup of the NEW Star. It made you think of the Charlotte Observer! WE are MOVING ON UP! Bigger print, more dynamic layouts, and it's true about what you said on experience. The new Star is all about the "experience!" That's what consumers are looking for. It reminds me of a news magazine now and that makes me want to pick it up and dig in. Also I feel that the new Star incoporates more ways for readers to interact. This helps to foster a better newspaper in which we as people of Cleveland County, have a say in our news content. Thanks again! Trey

Gary Koontz said...

No hockey news or standings at all. In accurate tv listings of sports.

Anonymous said...

I enjoy the new star but really don't like the format of the obits and weddings.... To me it just takes away from the both of them. A little disrespecful for the obits and sort of takes the elegance out of a wedding with this format. Everything else is great though!

Anonymous said...

The format of the obits and weddings seems impersonal to me, like the paper does not want to take up space to give a true tribute to deaths and weddings. I do love that the list of obits is on the front page; that is a great idea.

Skip Foster said...

Thanks for the comment on the obits and weddings. Here's some detail on why we are doing what we are doing.

In research conducted across the country, readers are overwhelmingly telling newspapers that the paragraph is not an effective means by which to communicate information. We are moving to more lists, digests and bullet points not to save space (it doesn't) or to become impersonal (the same information -- or more -- is published with these new formats) but instead to make it easier for readers to consume the information.

I think if you look at these new features from purely a readership standpoint, you will find that it is much easier to pick out information, especially if you are in a rush to get the kids to school/get to work/etc.

As for the "elegance" of the weddings and obits, while I understand the perspective, I'm not sure I understand how moving from long gray blocks of text to an easier-to-read format diminishes the importance or impact of the wedding or obit.

Our intent is the opposite -- to make sure that folks can consume as much of this information as possible so that they are aware of MORE weddings in our community and can remember those who have died and be supportive of family members in MORE deaths.

Anyway -- it is quite a radical change in many respects. I would have been shocked to not have some folks resistant to the changes.

Keep the comments coming and thanks again!

Anonymous said...

Overall, a very positive change. My wife likes the obits on the first page. The new format on the full obits is great since you can quickly find essential information.

Do not like opinion on the left side of the page, put it back in the middle.

Anonymous said...

Am trying to adjust to new paper but find that it all looks like one big ad. As a consequence I spend less time reading it. It needs a little pizazz similar to the Observer. Not sure about obits yet. First reaction was that individual's life was being trivialized. Can understand your reasoning but making all writing "bullets" and easy to read for kids sometimes sacrifices the essence of good writing. That was probably a ridiculous statement considering the number of grammatical errors in the paper. Where are the proofreaders and fact checkers? Oh my, I digressed and perhaps made some errors.

Keep trying and I will continue to support and try to adjust to changes. After all, we know that the money is in the advertising online which will be the demise of newsprint as we know it.

Anonymous said...

Add a counter in the right upper corner of the first page - 10 days waiting for complete information from CCS or something more concise.

Anonymous said...

Looks appealing, but same sorry journalism equals same paper. Send Hays packing like Martinsville did if you want to improve this paper and this county! Want to see what type reporter he is, visit: http://martinsvilledaily.com/index.php?p=562

Anonymous said...

OK, Skip, as well you know national research statistics applied to this area do not always work. Remember the rollout garbage can numbers? No one took into consideration the age and health of the area's population. Do you have any numbers on the age of subscribers to The Star? Not all of us are busy young families who read in spurts. Oops, I just told you that I am an aging baby boomer.

Maybe the "elegance" of the obits and weddings has to do with people laminating the articles and placing them in their family Bibles to pass to the next generation. It is nice to be able to clip the entire obit from the paper or copy just one obit online on a separate page without having to trim and glue.

I have to admit that the paper looked better today...maybe I am beginning to see more of the Carolina Blue!

Pizazz

Skip Foster said...

Regarding the comment on Hays Burchfield, I couldn't be happier with his work at The Star. His situation in Virginia said much more about a newspaper's failure to stand up for hard-nosed reporting and, instead, cowering in the face of a bullying school system than it did about Hays. His goal is my goal: to aggressively, yet respectfully, hold the powerful accountable. That's exactly what he has done so far in Shelby and I couldn't be happier with his performance.

Anonymous said...

Concerning Hays, well said Skip. Fortunately many of us know the difference between "hard-nosed journalism" and sensationalist reporter who misquotes and sticks his nose where it doesn't belong, as he did in Henry County. What we need here in Cleveland County is professionalism, in ALL venues. Not that there was, but now there's no question how you feel as well. By the way, if the salaries of citizens paid with taxpayer's money is so important and newsworthy, let's see the annual income of Judge Foster on the front page tomorrow.

Skip Foster said...

Judge Foster's salary has been published in The Star before -- our current focus is on the school system, but given that it is public record, I'll be happy to tell you that she makes somewhere between 90k and 95k -- far less than what she would be making in private practice.

If you have a specific example of Hays acting unprofessionally in Cleveland County, misquoting someone or sensationalizing the news, please let me know. For my sake, I'm sure not perfect in that regard, but I do the best I can. Perhaps you have examples of me not acting professionally, as well. I'd like to hear those so I can improve.

By the way, I certainly disagree that attempting to talk to students, school officials or law enforcement officials on public property constitutes "sticking his nose" where it doesn't belong.

Thanks for your comments.

Skip Foster said...

Pizazz:

Thanks for that post -- I appreciate the feedback.
On the obits, I had a couple people point out to me today that the new style is EASIER to clip and save. Instead of a long string of copy, it's in more of a block -- don't have to fold it over or anything.

Anyway, glad it's growing on you, but show me where the Carolina Blue is so I can get rid of it!

;-)

Judy McKinnon said...

I'm not sure what I think just yet about the new Star, my only comment about it yet is that it seems to be a little "busy". I do want to comment on the "Brenda Brown" story. Many of us have been anxiously anticipating this story but is it being drug out for way to long. It should have been told in one week instead of two. There is just not enough information printed each day to keep it as interesting as it should be.
On the same line, I hope that you will continue looking into the "cold cases" around here...there are several unsolved murders here that need to be answered. Thanks for the good job that you do.

Skip Foster said...

Judy,
Thanks for those comments. I appreciate them very much. We're trying something different on the Brenda Sue Brown story. Often we hear that readers get bogged down in long columns of copy and can't digest a story like this. So, we're putting it in shorter segments to make it easier to read. (Of course, it doesn't hurt that it will encourage people to buy the paper every day and see all the new improvements we are making!).

Anyway, feedback like yours will help us decide whether this is a good format for the future or not.

Thanks.

By the way, if you have any particular cold cases you'd like us to investigate, please let me know.

Thanks again for your excellent comments.

Judy McKinnon said...

Reference: Other Cold Cases in Cleveland County. One that comes to mind is the beating death of Benny Hollifield (Ex. Chief of Police in Boiling Springs) at his home in Boiling Springs. I don't believe that anyone was ever tried for that.

Judy McKinnon said...

Reference: Other Cold Cases in Cleveland County. One that comes to mind is the beating death of Benny Hollifield (Ex. Chief of Police in Boiling Springs) at his home in Boiling Springs. I don't believe that anyone was ever tried for that.

Skip Foster said...

Thanks, Judy. That one pre-dates me (not saying much -- I've only been here since 1997) so I'm glad you told me. I'll see if we can do something on that.

Thanks again!

Anonymous said...

My only complaint about The Star now is the TV listings...nothing is mentioned before 7 PM, and no cable channels for the various TV stations are listed...which is cool if someone has an outside TV antenna and is not on Cable.

Anonymous said...

You know Skippy there must be some truth in the reports from the Henry schools:
* was at Bassett High School talking with students without their consent and in unauthorized areas.

* was found in unauthorized areas of the Henry County Schools’ administration offices.

* interfered with the administration’s ability to respond to a bomb threat at Magna Vista High School.


Now you just need to try to explain why it would have been published in their paper if it wasn't so.

Anonymous said...

I for one would want our schools to act the same way, if a reporter is acting inapropriately or unlawfully, especially if it has the potential to endanger the lives of our children. "Hard-nosed reporting" is one thing, violating the rules is another.
BTW, have you noticed nobody is commenting any futher on the school salary info in last Sunday's edition. Guess it wasn't as "newsworthy" as some thought. It took Hays 6 months to report the first information that he complained about not getting on a timely basis. Now this latest information took a week to get to print. I guess it took that long to multiply the monthly salaries times 12, which if he hadn't told us that, us hicks in Cleveland Co. probably never could of figured that out. Let's move on to real news now, can we?

Anonymous said...

The paper is hard to read. Please go back to the old look.

Anonymous said...

to the blogger who clearly has an anger issue concerning a specific reporter... i really don't know or care about his work in another town, and i don't think it is relevant. honestly, i don't even care much about the story he is reporting for the star. i do care about people being disrespectful and hitting below the belt. if you have a bone to pick with the reporter, call him on the phone. post something on his blogspot. send him an email. but to publicly berate and accuse the man to his boss is cowardly and common. and then to use a disrespectful name for the same boss you wanted on your side, just because you did not get your way and the poor guy still has his job - there is just no excuse for that behavior. get a backbone. deal with the issue at hand.

Anonymous said...

7:30 it is relevant if it is a sign of the reporters credibility and integrity !

So why do you think it is Ok to publicly berate our School System but not question the motive and credibility behind the reporting ?

Anonymous said...

To 7:25am, Amen! We shouldn't care about the history from another town 7:30pm? Not relevant! Give me a break! Then why not hire a few of the prisoners at county jail to do the reporting? Or maybe this would be a good job for our homeless. Past job history or experience isn't relevant, right? I'm not the one that started these blog comments, and I have never been disrepectfull towards Mr. Foster. As far as backbone is concerned, I would be happy to talk to Hays face to face, if I thought my job wouldn't be threatened, or my comments wouldn't get misrepresented in print. But I know better.
BTW, Anonymous can and does represent more than one citizen's opinion here, so try and not lump us all into one group.

Anonymous said...

Ok, Skip, I have finally become accustomed to the Star format BUT today's obits were not up to par. Mrs. Langley's was cut off and others were continued in the next column. That takes one back to cut and paste versus cutting one column to preserve for the generations.

Editorial was thoughtful and well done.

Pizazz

PS Did you notice the Carolina Blue sky on the sports page yesterday?

Anonymous said...

The Star has hit rock bottom with this Burchfield guy's reporting, now especially with his students sexual orientation report. He is Satan's pupil with a pen.

Our school board members should take a stand and stop him from getting on school property !

Anonymous said...

I like the new format for the newspaper, but please give us a better TV Guide in the Sunday issue than what we are getting now. It is never correct. For instance it had todays (Wednesday) Idol show at 9:00pm for 30 minutes. It actually started at 8:30pm for one hour...and that is just one goof!

Anonymous said...

The new STAR looks like the National Enquirer! Please bring back the basic newspaper and cut out all the hollywood gossip on the front page. Who are these people that the paper is dedicated to each day? And who are the people interviewed in the left hand column? Who cares? You still need a proofreader, too. Many stories are incomplete and many contain errors - same as before. And one last comment, do our children really need to read about some man being "castrated" - on the front page? And right above a beautiful photo and story about a North Shelby School Graduate. Talk about Newspapers in Education!