Democrat working on improvements

Published 12:00 am Sunday, May 7, 2000

Improvement is a continuous process at The Democrat. It is rare for a day to go by without our employees looking for and finding ways to improve your newspaper. Through that process, we’ve implemented a number of recent improvements I’d like to share with you.

About a year ago, after listening to the requests of several readers, we launched The Democrat’s weekly TV section, The Clicker. New to the television section business, we gave it our best shot. Our plan was simple, put together the best section we can, roll it out, listen to what the readers have to say, then make it better. Listen to the readers some more, then make it better again. Today’s Clicker is end result of all that listening and the implementation of the ideas you gave us. For instance, we’ve expanded the weekday daytime listings, added a weekly sports summary, added color-coding for movies and sports, added soap opera news and a number of other features. In a few days we’ll roll out the online version of The Clicker, &uot;clickTV.&uot; You will be able to access it from our Web site, And it has loads of cool features. From customized listings by user (i.e., you can create your own listings based on the networks you watch), to quick, accurate searches, it’s a television junkie’s dream. The search feature is my favorite. As a John Wayne fan, I’m able to find the title, time and network of every John Wayne movie scheduled for the next two weeks. It’s great.

Additionally, we’ve made several other changes designed to make the newspaper an easier read. About three weeks ago we started adding &uot;tags,&uot; or labels, to almost every story in the newspaper. A check of the tag of each story will allow you to quickly determine the story’s subject. The recent stories about Elian Gonzalez, for instance, carried the simple tag &uot;Cuban boy&uot; or &uot;Custody battle.&uot; A local story might simply carry the tag &uot;Natchez&uot; or could be more specific, &uot;Natchez Schools,&uot; for example.

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We’re also in the process revamping our page 2B sports package as well. We’ve moved the primetime television listings from that page to the classified section to make more space for local and national sports coverage. We’ve added a daily roundup of the top major league baseball games and major league box scores to our Sports Scoreboard package, and we’ve changed the type style of that package to make the box scores easier to read. We’ve also added a feature called &uot;Daily Scorecard,&uot; which is a roundup of upcoming local sports tidbits such as league signup information, tournament dates and special events. And today, we updated the look of the headings to make the Sports Scoreboard package easier to follow. About three months ago we pulled out the stops on team photos. We asked you to bring us your sports team, academic team and other group photos. And you sure responded. We published dozens of basketball team photos, first deer, trophy deer and the like. But we still need more. We’d like to publish photos of every little league baseball, tee-ball and softball team in the area along with any other &uot;teams&uot; that line up in front of the camera. We would also like to keep our outdoor oriented readers up to date on the successes of their peers. So brings us those big gobbler, big bass or stringer full of crappie (my bad, white perch) photos.

And most have noticed our renewed focus on political campaign coverage. It’s an unfortunate reality that every voter can’t simply sit down and interview each candidate. And we believe it’s our role to step in on our readers’ behalf and conduct that interview, asking the questions the voters want asked and sharing the answers in the newspaper. It’s a basic responsibility of a community newspaper, and we’re committed to living up to that responsibility.

Those are only a few of the improvements we’ve put into place recently, but I think you get the idea. We’re working hard to be the best community newspaper we can be and to provide you with interesting and informative information in every issue. And we have a number of further improvements in the works, so keep your eyes on the newspaper and let us know what you think.

Todd Carpenter is publisher of The Democrat. You can reach him by calling 446-5172, ext. 218 or by e-mail at