Only the location of this page has changed

Posted: Sunday, September 04, 2005

Elton Engstrom, whose On The Waterfront column appears regularly on our Neighbors page, is asking our readers to write and let us know how unhappy they are with the placement of our editorial page on the next-to-last page of our A section. Engstrom, for some reason, is falsely under the impression that our op-ed offerings will limited.

For the past couple of weeks our main editorial page has been on to the next-to-last page of the A section. In Friday's paper, for example, it was on Page 11 of the 12-page section. We moved the editorial page to make for a more cohesive A section as it relates to our presentation of the local, state, national and international news that appears in the main section.

In the past, our two op-ed pages, Pages 4A and 5A, had been a divider between news pages and we wanted to make the navigation of those easier for our readers.

There was no magical formula for placing our editorial page on the next-to-last page of the A section. Many newspapers make Page 4A their editorial page, with 5A an optional opinion page. Others choose to place their editorial content on the second-to-last page of their A section (in that case the editorial page would appear on the left-hand page toward the back of the section). Where the opinion page or pages are placed is purely a subjective matter on the part of editors and publishers.

As for the amount of editorial and opinion copy we run, nothing has changed, and that's important for me to note. The simple fact of the matter is that we haven't had enough outside submissions to warrant the running of two opinion pages on the two days we tend to do so, Fridays and Sundays. During the summer months, perhaps because the weather was nice and there were salmon to be caught, the number of letters to the editor and My Turn columns has slowed to a trickle.

As our volume of op-ed submissions increases, and it will do so soon, we'll be back to two pages of opinion content on Sundays and, as necessary, on Fridays.

Engstrom is right about one thing, though: Our opinion page is not only one of the most popular parts of our newspaper, it is perhaps the most sought after and most vital parts of it as well. We have no intention whatsoever of reducing the amount of space we make for the opinion function of The Empire, and we will continue to give local letters and guest columns as much space as possible.

And speaking of readership, here are some numbers you should find interesting as they relate to the online version of our newspaper:

As of Friday we had 17,599 users who have registered to read The Empire online. Of those, 1,235 registered last week. Of the total number, 9,177 of them are female and 8,422 are male. For those of you who prefer the breakdown by percentage, that's a 52.1 to 47.9 split.

Relative to subscribers and non-subscribers of the print version of the newspaper, 88 percent (15,618) of our online readers are not subscribers. The other 11.2 percent, (1,973) are.

Age-wise, 20.5 percent of our online readers are 25-34, 21.7 percent of them are 35-44 and 24.9 percent of them are 45-54.

And the most surprising statistic, for me anyway, only 28.2 percent of our online readers reside in Juneau's 99801 zip code; 4.5 percent of them reside in the 99802 zip code and 3.5 percent of them have a 99803 zip code.

Growing by more than 1,000 new registrants each week, we're expecting to have 25,000 or more registered users by the end of October. That means that between the print and online versions of The Empire, our readership is growing rather dramatically.

• Robert Hale is publisher of the Juneau Empire. He can be reached at

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