Here's the skinny on page widths [Telegraph-Herald (Dubuque, IA)]
(Telegraph-Herald (Dubuque, IA) Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) When it hits your doorstep or comes out of the vending machine, a newspaper appears to be a single product. But, considered another way, it is also the amalgamation of hundreds of discrete units - stories, photographs, maps and other graphics, reference lines and the like - built on a basic template reflecting many additional decisions.
Thus, with all those "moving parts," it is understandable that people have a range of opinions and suggestions concerning their newspaper - including controversial coverage decisions or editorial positions, a new (or deleted) comic strip, the paper's format or anything in between.
I'll confess we were a bit surprised the other day when we received a reader's email, which stated in part, "Just wanted to let someone know " we do not like the narrowness of the TH. Let's get back to the regular shape. Too hard to handle - too long and narrow."
We were scratching our heads over that comment for a couple of reasons:
* When the TH was redesigned and reformatted, nearly all the feedback about the shape was favorable.
* We made that change nearly 4 1/2 years ago, in April 2009.
Even if we, for any reason, decided we wanted to change the TH back to its "regular shape," we cannot do it with our current press. It had to be permanently modified to make the final conversion.
However, the comment about page width reminded me that longtime subscribers Sharon and Chris Johnson a couple of years ago gave me two old TH editions they had saved for decades. I pulled them out. They are:
* Sunday, Dec. 1, 1963, when the nation was still reeling from the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. The lead headline read, "Reds offer information on Oswald."
TH pages then were an incredible 16 3/4 inches wide. Readers needed long, strong arms to open it up to read inside pages.
* Thursday, Aug. 8, 1974. This was when the TH was still a weekday afternoon paper, published a few hours before President Richard Nixon went on national television to announce his resignation.
The TH at that time (since 1966) was printed on the press we still use. Pages were 15 inches wide in 1974, but we have slimmed down several times to our current 11 inches.
As a newspaper editor and amateur historian, I find old newspapers incredibly interesting, and these copies were especially so - not only for the top story but for the other items that show up here and there.
For example, in the 1963 edition, TH subscribers learned about acrimony on the Dubuque Dock Commission centering on one particular member. We also had a photo of the dedication of a new U.S. 20 bridge in Elizabeth, Ill., and a report on how Dubuque had acquired a device that allows traffic police to gauge motorists' speeds by using radar.
In 1974, a front-page article revealed that a housing development on 85 acres north of Asbury Road and west of Hales Mill Road stood to double the population of Asbury. Buried in the back of the local section, the TH previewed the Dubuque arrival of 2,000 bicyclists concluding the second annual RAGBRAI. However, the article does not mention the organizer, a competing newspaper, The Des Moines Register. The police column disclosed that a traveling salesman reported that $375 was stolen from his trousers while he was patronizing a Dubuque massage parlor.
However, my favorite item that day was an account of how emergency personnel rushed to a Dubuque cave in response to a report that a 6-year-old boy was trapped inside. The effort drew a crowd, but it was called off when the boy was discovered standing among the onlookers.
Newspapers provide history on the fly. Thanks to Sharon and Chris Johnson for sharing these editions, with news items large and small.
GET TO KNOW 'FENCE TALK DIGITAL'
I've noted many times here that newspapers are no longer just ink on paper. They deliver news and information electronically as well as in hard-copy form, and they also offer a variety of products and services. That's why we now call our division TH Media.
The Telegraph Herald is the oldest product under the TH Media umbrella, and our newest is Fence Talk Digital.
Fence Talk Digital has been established to help businesses - especially small- and medium-sized businesses - with their digital information needs, including websites, social media, marketing, search-engine optimization, and online reputation management.
Many business owners know that they need to establish themselves or expand in these areas, but they lack the time, talent or finances to figure it all out on their own.
That's why we established Fence Talk Digital.
We are hosting free, no-obligation digital strategy seminars on mornings of Tuesday, Aug. 27, and Wednesday, Aug. 28. Breakfast is provided.
For more information, or to register, contact Tiffany Fluhr, digital marketing sales consultant, at 563-588-5754 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
We hope to see you there!
WE APOLOGIZE, SUNDAY CROSSWORD FANS
The Sunday New York Times crossword is tough enough without having to struggle to see the clues!
A production problem bit us in the wee hours Saturday morning, when we pre-printed the portion of the Sunday edition that included the crossword. The printing was so faint, it was nearly invisible.
I know it is not the same as working the puzzle on a quiet Sunday, but we have re-posted the puzzle on THonline.com. Or contact us at 563-588-5650 or Skremer@wcinet.com, and we'll send it to you.
We apologize to our crossword fans.
(c) 2013 ProQuest Information and Learning Company; All Rights Reserved.
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