Seeing as I’ve written about The Sun’s buyouts, layoffs, redesign and general overhaul of the newspaper as we knew it, I’ve nominated myself to give the official low down of the redesigned paper, which debuted Sunday. (In case you haven’t heard by now, the paper has consolidated its business, local, national and international news into the “A” section, has another devoted to features and its third section covers sports.)
It’s all about semantics: The Sun is now officially The “Baltimore” Sun and has changed its masthead accordingly. I suppose this is to emphasize its renewed focus on local coverage and not meant to be an insinuation that people around here don’t know where The Sun — oops, I mean The Baltimore Sun — is published. The features section, which will focus on a certain theme each day of the week, is also renamed the “you” section. I’m flattered.
The Sun. We know drama: The sports section has a neat feature where columnists face off on an issue, kind of like ESPN’s “Pardon the Interruption,” but for the written word. Monday’s argument is over the Ravens’ quarterback debate. The paper has also placed some eye-catching photos above its masthead to liven up its front page, which grabs readers’ attention and gives them an idea of what’s inside.
The celebrity treatment: Instead of the gritty old black-and-white headshots that used to accompany most columns, writers are getting full color torso shots or head-to-toe photos of themselves alongside their copy. Maybe it’ll get better as time goes on, but for now the photos look a little awkward with these guys just standing there, hands in pockets, trying to look relaxed. I don’t know about any other journalists, but if I liked being in the spotlight, I’d have gone into broadcasting. Is this something the readers want?
Less is more? That’s the biggest question here. The Baltimore Sun has put as much positive spin as it can on the fact that it’s cutting its content, but are you satisfied with the level of coverage? Or does the new design leave you feeling like you need to go to another source to really catch up on the day’s news?
LIZ FARMER, Business Writer