On May 1, Blount Today will take the next step toward our never-ending goal of serving the people of Blount County with the best in news, photographs and coverage. As we have grown through the 3 ½ years since we started, we have seen our efforts blossom from sleepless nights wondering how we would ever fill up 32 pages, to sleepless nights wondering how we could afford to mail 80 pages, to sleepless nights wondering if it will be OK to hold the pictures from that Chili Supper one-more-week because this week’s edition was full.
It’s a wonderful problem to have, but a problem, nonetheless.
In addition, as outlined in our last Dear Readers, the price of newsprint and ink has grown astronomically since Blount Today began, a cost we have tried to, for the most part, simply absorb.
It’s an industry-wide problem. So, on May 12, our sister Scripps newspaper in Knoxville, the News Sentinel, will be converting to a new size similar to what many newspapers throughout the country and our own region are doing. They are re-structuring their presses and will produce what we call a 44-inch web-width newspaper. This means the paper will be 10 inches wide by 20 inches deep. It will reduce not only the amount of paper used, but the amount of waste, which is a huge issue in the newspaper world.
Restructuring the press meant a change for Blount Today, as we are a customer of KNS Printing and use the News Sentinel presses. When we looked at the new Tabloid/Magazine size off the new press, we knew we had a problem.
With the number of pictures we use and the way we like to offer more to our readers when we cover an event, we knew it just wasn’t going to be possible in a tabloid format. When our editor, Lance Coleman, and I sat down with the templates, we realized that a short story with five pictures that made a nice One-Page feature now would need two pages, and we still would have to lose a picture.
So, we’re making the leap. Most of us here are seasoned newspaper people, so we are familiar with broadsheet newspapers. Most of our customers, readers and advertisers are as well. We believe the best way to stay true to who we are, what we want to do and how we want to cover Blount County and its events is to embrace the new size.
My News Sentinel friends tell me you will love it. Diana Condon, advertising director for the News Sentinel, and Marty Millsaps, Blount Today’s advertising director, tell me that readership response in other markets to the 10x20 newspaper has been very positive. Readers find it easy to handle, stories and photographs have room to breathe, and we are able to hold down our expenses to help keep our rates as reasonable as possible for our customers.
If you are an advertising customer of Blount Today, you are going to see little change. Your ad will achieve the same level of visual impact. A quarter-page is still a quarter-page, a half is still a half and a full page has an incredible Wow! factor.
This change is big news for Blount Today, and we have some other news to accompany it. Beginning May 15, Blount Today will expand to two sections and offer an improved, exciting Classified section as Section B. This section will feature the best in Automotive advertising and our Classified Connection line ads. The prototypes have received rave reviews, and we know you will enjoy this new section.
In addition, our Homes Today section, which will remain a tabloid size paper and be inserted into Blount Today, will get a new partner. Join me next week for a Dear Readers where I will tell you all about this added new feature for our realtors, home buyers and sellers and agents.
As always, thanks for all your kind words, loyalty and positive feedback about Blount Today. It’s why we come to work every morning!
Sherri Gardner Howell
Publisher, Blount Today