My Turn: Editorial page, TV guide changes aren't for the better

Posted: Monday, September 12, 2005

I agree that moving the Empire opinion page to the next-to-the-last page in section A is a bad idea. The rationale for doing so seems silly. "Easier for the reader to navigate"? I liked flipping to the reliable Page A4 for the editorials and letters to the editor and never had any problem with "navigating" through the city, state, national and world news. I do not like going through the paper to the changed location of the most popular part of the Empire. Please change back.

And that's not all that is annoying. What is going on with the television schedule? Are you trying to save paper or what? The very small, hard-to-read type and confusing format for the weekday morning and afternoon television program and time schedules is another bad idea. Adding insult to injury is the large, very clear type prominently mixed through the headings, touting real estate businesses. Is this intrusion supposed to be subliminal persuasion? Please change back.

I know advertising is important to support the Empire as a business, but when those intrusive stickers started appearing on top of front page photos, I phoned in my complaint. Brian Wallace and Michael Penn are outstanding photographers and their images attract reader attention and probably promote newsstand sales. To cover the photos with a 3-inch square of advertising was offensive. The director of advertising seemed to take this objection seriously and placement of the sticker changed.

Another example of commercial interests exceeding aesthetics as a priority is the cover of the television schedule. Attractive, artful covers were replaced by a mishmash of unattractive ads. (Annoyed, I don't read those either.)

If management truly wants to help the reader navigate the paper and see those expensive ads, front page stories should continue to the back page, instead of random available spaces on inner pages of the paper. Full page advertisements on the last page make use of color and can be nice and big, but when front page stories are not continued to the last page (sharing space with ads), I avoid going there altogether. I don't think that is what the advertisers have in mind.

I'm curious about another piece of information provided by the publisher, comments about postal zones. Doesn't he know that all those "online subscribers" with 99802 and 99803 addresses probably all do reside in 99801 and are using post office boxes?

I want to wind up this collection of comments with a compliment by saying that I especially appreciate the quality of staff writing and local coverage. A few years ago, I was appointed to the Empire Citizen Advisory Board and eager to discuss and provide feedback about how to improve our newspaper. I have written my share of letters to the editor, also, though some have been inexplicably rejected. I'll keep my eyes open for this one.

• Juneau resident Dixie Hood has been an Empire subscriber for 30 years.

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