The year 2016 was one of change for The News-Review.
Under the local ownership of Lotus Media Group, the Roseburg based newspaper dramatically increased its emphasis on the local news and feature scene. The paper’s front news and sports pages became almost 100 percent local stories and photos. Page A2 was all local and so was the front of the Business section in Sunday’s paper. The front of the Outdoors section also featured numerous local articles and photos.
The newspaper’s goal going forward in 2017 is to expand its local news coverage to A3. The daily What’s Up Calendar and the My Scene photo gallery have been moved a few pages back in the A section to the Weather page. The calendar will have a new name: Community Calendar. If needed, the Oregon briefs will also be moved, allowing for more space on A3 for community news and state stories that impact Douglas County.
The News-Review newsroom staff believes the news and features in Douglas County that inform, educate and entertain the readers cannot be found at the numerous sources that provide national and international news. In this age of 24/7 TV and radio news stations, and the availability of news instantly on technological devices, it’s easy to stay updated on the national and international scenes.
But at the local level, news and features don’t get printed in the newspaper or posted online until one of our objective reporters interview sources and writes the story. Those reporters can provide more details from their in-depth reporting than any other media source in Douglas County.
And to help provide local news and opinion, The News-Review encourages readers to participate in the dialogue by submitted Letters to the Editor, Guest Columns, courtesy stories or ideas for the staff to consider.
The paper’s Sports staff has also increased its presence at prep events around the county and on many days is filling both its front and second pages with all local coverage. With University of Oregon and Oregon State University athletics and the Portland Trail Blazers being the next priority. Many days there’s going to be less major sports previews and results, but those stories and results will be available on The News-Review’s website.
Of course, there will be exceptions. Space will be designated for national events such as the recent presidential inauguration and Sunday’s Super Bowl football game.
The newspaper did move from 8-page A and B sections to 12-page sections on Wednesdays and Sundays in 2016 to make more room for more news and features. A daily Business section has been added, and more changes for the Business section that are being worked on will appear in the Wednesday and Sunday papers. Those include a gas pump graphic listing the stations with the lowest cost of gas in Douglas County and a Stock Market bar graph and a listing of 20 or so major Northwest companies and their market numbers for the week.
Online, our expectations have never been higher. In 2017, we plan to release an app that will bring our content directly to our readers. The app will allow users to sign up for breaking news alerts, read and react to the day’s events, and personalize their news feed. As stated above, our mission is to inform, educate and entertain. With more possibilities to invent and take advantage of online storytelling techniques, we believe in providing our readers with the most effective and impactful methods — whether that be photo collections, interactive maps, multimedia packages, audio presentations or our award-winning articles.
Last year, we put a new coat of paint on our website and upped our presence on social media. This year, our goal is to take advantage of those tools and provide our readers with cutting edge, impactful digital storytelling.
Another News-Review goal for 2017 is to increase the paper’s page count on another day. That’s contrary to the ongoing trend in the newspaper industry. The News-Review has also maintained its daily home delivery. That also is against the industry trend.
And the newspaper is bucking another trend by adding a veteran newsperson to its newsroom on March 1. Many newspapers have cut their newsrooms by a third or even by half over the past several years, but The News-Review has added a news reporter, a page designer/copy editor, a sports reporter and an Umpqua Community College student intern in the past year.
As the new year unfolds, the newsroom has no idea how news events will unfold in Douglas County, but it will do its best to continue to inform, educate and entertain News-Review readers with objective, accurate reporting and writing.
Thanks for reading your local newspaper.