As probably is the case within your family, your workplace and/or your classroom, changes at the newspaper sometimes are dramatic and sometimes subtle.
Steve Reed is managing editor of the Empire. He can be reached at email@example.com.
As a result there are times when (we hope) you say: "Hey, look at this cool thing the Empire did."
We hope those times included the additions of Outdoors and This Week and the improvements made in the appearance and content of the Neighbors sections, for example.
Other evenings you unfold the Empire and somewhere around page two you pause and wonder: "There's something different about this page, but I can't quite figure out what it is."
OK, the truth about page two is we've added subliminal aroma agents to the ink so that when the page is opened, folded or wrinkled, readers will be inclined to call our circulation department and order lifetime subscriptions; call the advertising department to order full-page, full-color ads; bake chocolate chip cookies for your carrier; and tell your friends, "I know it's true because I read it in the Empire."
And, as in your everyday world, we sometimes are blind to our deficiencies, sometimes are immobilized by a "this is the way we've always done it" mentality, and sometimes are eager to implement a change but don't because of pesky cost issues.
Today we propose doing something, the results of which could fall between dramatic and subtle. It should have happened a long time ago. Blame me that it hasn't - especially since cost doesn't seem to be an obstacle. What is required, however, is your cooperation.
Of all the things we could do better, one of the easiest to identify is coverage of local communities of faith. That's right, "church news" - but also synagogue news and mosque news and probably some other categories of worship I should have thought of.
It wasn't long ago that the Empire did not offer much in the way of travel, food, religion, lifestyle, books, health, science, technology or personal financial news. As we march through the list, adding content whenever we can, the improvements occur in degrees. For example, having a Religion page, as we now do almost every Friday, is better than not having a Religion page.
But I hope we can agree that having a Religion page highlighting local religious activities would be more meaningful than filling the space with syndicated articles. Liturgical trends in Philadelphia's mainstream Protestant congregations? Sorry, my eyes glaze over, too.
Empire reporters do a great job with some of the big developments on the local communities-of-faith scene. Build a new church and we'll be there. New churches don't come along every day, though. Communities of faith grind it out, a special program here, a guest speaker there, retreats, fund-raisers, adult and youth education, field trips, prayer circles, potlucks, and that old summer standby - vacation Bible school.
Call, fax or e-mail with the content from or equivalent of the church bulletin. We'll use it as space permits. Did your church hire a music director who is so talented he/she could work anywhere in the nation but came to Juneau and revitalized the music component of the worship service? Talk to us.
Miracles - witnessed or needed - are news. Don't keep them a secret. For example, if your pastor needs a liver transplant and is waiting for the beeper message from Seattle saying "Get here as fast as you can, we think we have a donor," share the news. As far as I can tell, nothing worse than a bunch of readers adding the preacher to their prayers will result. (And, yes, I do have a specific church and pastor in mind, and I hope we can track him down as soon as he returns from Seattle where Friday's donor-liver was not appropriate and therefore not transplanted.)
Emily Wescott, our newest reporter, is your contact at the Empire. Her e-mail is firstname.lastname@example.org; the newsroom fax is 586-3028, and her phone number is 586-3740, extension 268.
Emily and I have faith this will work. And faith has been known to move mountains.
Steve Reed is managing editor of the Empire. Contact him at email@example.com.