We have added more color capacity to better showcase inside pages; focusing more on local stories, people

Your local newspaper has undergone some subtle changes recently.

For starters, we're more colorful. This past winter, we added two pages of color capacity to our press, allowing for six total pages of color in a section. While the usage of color will still often be mandated by advertising, as there is a cost involved, the additional color allows us to better showcase inside pages.

Having the additional color available helped inspire our most recent review and rethinking of what we put in the paper and where we put it — a regular exercise for newspapers.

I'd venture to guess that there isn't a community paper in the state that does a better job of covering youth than the Central Oregonian, from sports to scholastic achievements, education programs and endeavors. But that makes sense as there aren't too many communities in the state more dedicated to their kids and prep programs than the Prineville, Crook County area.

Having one of the best small school volleyball and wrestling programs in the nation often makes the Sports section our newspaper's most exciting, wide-appeal element, and it often provides us with our best photography.

What better place to use our expanded color than to better showcase our Sports page. Expect big, bold color sports photos going forward, maybe not every week, but most every week.

In March, we halted the production of Total Market Coverage product, the Supplement, which also ran in the paper as a separate section titled Kitchen and Cuisine, which included the classifieds.

Even though we stopped the TMC, we didn't stop Kitchen and Cuisine. It's now a part of the main body of the newspaper. Regularly, you'll find it — and those inspiring recipes — on the back page of the main section.

We've long done a Faith focus page each Friday. However, that page too often consisted only of syndicated columnists who couldn't tell Prineville, Oregon, from Princeville, Hawaii. We weren't receiving and producing enough fresh, local, faith-based content to maintain a good weekly Faith page. So, instead of an unimpressive weekly Faith page, we'll endeavor to produce a strong monthly Faith page. We kicked it off last week with a feature on the Young Life program, written by one of our talented contributing writers, Holly McLane.

The best element of the former weekly Faith page was the columns from our local ministers. They will continue on a regular basis — hopefully weekly, as often as they are received — and will run above the church directory, which will continue to run every Friday in our Community section. That weekly forum for our participating ministers will continue.

A good Faith page in your local newspaper is largely up to the local church community. If your church has a unique, interesting program going on, or an inspiring individual who should be showcased in a story, please, let us know.

Also this month, we've discontined the segment we called State and Local. That section included stories we would purchase through a news service or republished from other sources. Nearly always, the stories were interesting, often unusual. But, they were stories likely already on television news or, as noted, already in other publications.

The idea for State and Local — which was more "regional" in content than "local" — was to give readers a taste of news outside of Crook County, and there's nothing wrong with that. But the new concept is to commit the space to more actual local coverage — with the names, faces, stories and events of Crook County people.

Better business coverage is also a new focus. We're making a commitment to expand our business coverage, adding more stories on current and new local businesses, and to generally have an expanded presence of economic news in the paper.

All of these changes are designed to better serve our readers and advertisers, and make us the best local newspaper we can be. In this day and age, a business better be ready and able to adapt and be responsive to its customers and business climate, and that's what we're constantly trying to do.

If you have ideas on what you'd like to see in your community paper, changes in focus you'd like us to consider — or to let us know what you like, appreciate and want more of, or don't like — please, give us a shout. You can call me, General Manager Teresa Tooley or News Editor Jason Chaney here at the paper at 541-447-6205. Or shoot any of us an email.

And always, thanks for reading your community newspaper.

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