Rearranging The Times

FILLERS

BY JOHN CULLEN

The Storm Lake Times is making a few changes in how our newspaper is arranged, beginning next week.

This editorial page, which has run inside our main section forever, will move to the front of Section B. Sports, which has been on the front of Section B, will move to the back of Section A.

The move to a section front will give our editorial pages the prominence they deserve. The Storm Lake Times has become recognized not just statewide but internationally for editorials written by Brother Art, especially after he won the Pulitzer Prize as best editorial writer in the nation in 2017.

In fact, our editorial endorsement of Elizabeth Warren in Wednesday’s paper has drawn national attention. The Des Moines Register noted in a news story that Art’s endorsement is “coveted” and a “highly sought after endorsement for candidates who want to win over rural voters.” The story added that Art is “one of the nation’s leading progressive voices on rural life and politics.” It was also a big topic on Twitter Wednesday.

Obituaries will continue to run after the opinions in Section B, followed by classified and help wanted ads which have been there for years.

Likewise, Jamie Knapp does a terrific job in sports coverage — he hasn’t missed a Storm Lake High School home football game in 29 years — and Section A will highlight his work as well with the ability to continue running his color photos on the back page.

The page relocation will also solve some production issues as well.

THIS IS THE LAST issue in which TV Times will appear in The Storm Lake Times.

It has been part of The Times for 29 years, beginning when printed TV listings played a useful purpose to navigate through a proliferation of channels. Now, however, nearly all viewers follow the listings with on-screen guides provided by cable channels and streaming services. There are also cellphone apps. Our listings cover only a fraction of the cable channels that are available. And we have nothing for Netflix and Amazon Prime, where people are increasingly viewing content as they abandon network television.

Printed TV listings have become obsolete. And expensive. It costs us nearly $20,000 a year to provide this service that viewers don’t use any more. We have decided that money would be put to better use on expanding coverage of local news, government, schools, sports, the arts and the like.

To continue printing TV listings would require us to raise our subscription price at least $12 per year, and we don’t think that’s fair or judicious use of our limited resources.

To keep The Storm Lake Times vibrant and fulfilling our mission to be the mirror of our community requires us to constantly evaluate where our limited resources should be directed.

WE DON’T MAKE changes lightly, because people become comfortable over the decades with the personality of their “old friend,” their hometown newspaper. But we also recognize that if we are to survive, newspapers must adapt to the changing times.

Support for local newspapers is essential for a democracy. Facebook is great to watch cute kittens playing on a piano, but nobody from Facebook shows up to cover our city council, county supervisors, high school sports and drama, feature stories about local people. The Storm Lake Times does.

We appreciate your support.

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