Why has the Spirit been publishing two sections?

Readers have likely noticed that the last few editions of the Spirit of Jefferson have consisted of only two sections, rather than the four sections the paper has enjoyed since 2010 — and some haven’t liked it, noting that two sections for the same 75 cents price feels like a gyp.

I’ll start by saying that publishing the Spirit with a two-section format has long been one of my goals since assuming oversight of the paper last summer.

A two-section paper of 24 pages is the same as a four-section of 24 pages; both have four section fronts, all being in color. What two sections gives us, however, is the ability to plan two extra inside color pages. Those inside pages can be used to make the Food page more attractive, to give some pop to the Out & About page or — my personal favorite — to expand on a story started on A1 and continue it inside by including more photos. We told a story in such a manner last week with our second installment of “What’s in a Name,” teasing the piece from the front page and then continuing it on A3 with a nice helping of color pictures — text, pictures and layout making for a more attractive arrangement.

The impetus for moving to a two-section paper was the end of school and of the high schools’ athletic seasons, both meaning less content to put on our School page and in our Sports section. And as a result of the change, I have been able to do something I’ve long wanted to do — tie the Business and Farm pages together. We did that and kicked off the move with a nice profile of Terry Dunn and his two-toned corn.

The switch was also accompanied by a slight redesign of the front page, shifting the masthead topside, dropping the skybox snapshots from the top to a place just above the fold and adding a column that teases to some of the A section’s inside material. 

Come fall, the Sports section will expand and we’ll have to make the decision whether to stick with a two-section paper or return it to four sections.

In the meantime, if you have an opinion on the change, I’d enjoy hearing it. Write me, Rob Snyder at editor@spiritofjefferson.com or call at 304-725-2046. I’d enjoy having the chance to talk to you.

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