Just as the newspaper you hold today is nothing like the first edition of the Leader, tomorrow's News-Leader and the organization that creates it will be nothing like what you know today. ...
Bigger and bolder steps lie ahead in both digital and print as the newspaper industry transforms itself.
These will include significant changes to the daily newspaper, new weekly publications for nearby neighbors, more Web sites with greater interactivity and the most dramatic shift in how news is gathered, edited and distributed since the Leader was first published by a Confederate soldier many, many years ago.
•The paper's new Christian County publication, designed to boost readership (and ad revenues). It's sorely needed; according to the paper's Audit Bureau of Circulations reader profile, the News-Leader's weekday editions reach about one in three people in Greene and Christian counties.
(Joe Hadsall has some interesting thoughts on the Christian County angle.)
•The April 1 morphing of print reporters into borg-like information gatherers, armed with video cameras and laptops so they can create vid content for the web.
•The death of the traditional features desk and the creation of a "custom content" department.
•The birth of several more blogs, so mainstream media can look (and act) more like new media.
It's all a numbers game, of course. Daily newspapers have suffered circulation slips as the Internet unleashed the wires and abolished traditional news deadlines; those papers now rely on Internet readership to show how they're actually gaining readers. And their sites are built to maximize the appearance of mammoth readership, forcing surfers to click separate links for each individual letter to the editor, for example.
None of these things has anything to do with the newspaper's role as a watchdog, or as creator of the news agenda for southwest Missouri. Do these things still matter in the largest newsroom in the Ozarks?
Tempora mutantur, nos et mutamur in illis. Absolutely true. But change isn't always for the better.
Your thoughts on the coming "new" News-Leader?