By the time today’s edition is in hand, you might be doing a double-take and wondering if you picked up the right paper — don’t worry, it’s still The Argus Observer, we just freshened it up a bit for ease of our readers.
We’ve put a modern spin on a newspaper area citizens have been counting on for community news since 1897.
Some things readers might immediately notice are our new masthead (that’s where the logo and skybox — or photo teaser — go at the top of page 1) and new typeface for headlines, stories and photo captions.
The Argus Observer’s redesign doesn’t take anything away; in fact it offers us the opportunity to package up stories in a new way, helping us stay focused on adding more community news.
Before we made this change, we held a roundtable discussion. On April 24, we invited some Argus Observer subscribers to offer input about the project.
Those who attended the roundtable offered great feedback after getting to take a sneak peak at a few versions of our proposed new look.
Originally we discussed changing our masthead (which is where the logo sits on our front page) to simply, AO, matching the white lettering on a blue background which is how the logo appears for our app (which is free to download, by the way on Google Play and in the App Store).
After much discussion with community members, however, it was decided to keep ‘Argus’ in our name, with some saying they already know and identify with ‘The Argus,’ and other saying ‘Argus’ stands for history. We agree.
We’ve also added a couple new features including “3 Things About Today,” which will offer helpful, useful, quick snippets of news, and on page 2 we will highlight items in advance with “3 things you should go & do this week.” Also on page 2, we are adding a spot for reader submissions, but it will be up to you to help us fill those. Watch for calls for photos on our Facebook page and throughout the paper.
These were seen in the meeting as a great addition by Cathy Yasuda, executive director of TVCC Foundation. She mentioned that community events are really important to this community and that our community really knows each other.
“People will really like that,” she said.
Many things that the community has grown accustomed to will remain, including the weather on page A2 (though the shape of the graphic has changed), our regular contributors, our contact information, and the listing of legislative contacts in both Oregon and Idaho.
One person at the roundtable suggested that the listing of lawmaker contacts on our Tuesday and Sunday Opinion pages looks like we’re just trying to fill space.
To that comment, Wick CEO Francis Wick, the leader of Wick Communications, of which the Argus is a branch, who attended the meeting offered the following feedback.
“There are some tenets of the newspaper that don’t serve all constituents … these include things like city council meetings and legislative contacts,” he said.
However, Wick noted that one great aspect of the newspaper is that it continues to serve to further the dialogue in the Democratic process.
The aim of The Argus Observer redesign is to help keep things fresh for readers in an ever-changing world, but not shake it up so much that it’s unrecognizable.
The new look is “so much more attractive, a refresh and more contemporary,” said Yasuda, who added that if we were looking for a shift in brand, this was it.
It was important to us to hear input from local voices during this process, as we weigh what to improve for the greater good of our community.
“I read the Argus for the local stories,” said Matt Sorensen, executive director of the Boys & Girls Club of the Western Treasure Valley said, “The Argus continues to be relevant and local.”
And we will strive to stay on that path.