Beginning today, readers of the print Bulletin will notice some changes. Our news, advertising and production teams have redesigned the daily paper in order to maximize local reporting within a product that can be sustained by our advertisers and readers. To one degree or another, the redesign will touch the paper every day of the week.
I’ll describe below what readers can expect, but first, I’d like to explain our rationale.
For decades, as I explained recently, abundant advertising revenue allowed news organizations to provide comprehensive coverage for which they charged readers relatively little. Then came tech giants like Google and Facebook, which disrupted the advertising model that had subsidized news gathering at papers large and small.
While advertising will continue to provide the bulk of The Bulletin’s revenue, adjusting to this new reality has required some changes. A larger share of the cost of reporting and distributing the news has been passed to readers, reflecting a larger industry trend. Meanwhile, news organizations like ours have had to prioritize what they offer readers.
The redesigned Bulletin reflects these economic forces and our priorities. We have chosen to reduce our costs in newsprint and elsewhere in order to preserve the comprehensive local reporting Central Oregonians can’t get anywhere else.
Readers can expect to see fewer stories pulled from wire services such as the Associated Press, New York Times and Washington Post. Some readers will be unhappy about this, and that is understandable.
But if we’re going to prioritize content, as we must, it makes better sense to save that which readers can’t get elsewhere while sacrificing that which they can.
Despite these changes, the print edition of The Bulletin will continue to feature important national and international news. More, meanwhile, will continue to be available on our website, to which readers gain access with their print subscriptions.
The Sunday paper will see the most significant changes, becoming tighter and more locally focused. The basic elements of the traditional paper will remain, from local news and sports to business and lifestyle content (more about that below). But the paper will be arranged differently and in a way that highlights the work of The Bulletin’s reporters and editors.
Nowhere will that be more evident than in The Bulletin’s lifestyle pages. Rather than continuing to produce a weekly travel-themed lifestyle section dominated typically by wire-service stories, The Bulletin’s arts and entertainment staff will write about local people, institutions, events and travel.
One week a month, meanwhile, the Sunday lifestyle section will feature a reprint of an edition of The Bend Bulletin (as the paper was then known) that appeared during the same month 100 years earlier. Today is such a Sunday, and readers will find much of the standing content found in our lifestyle section (Dear Abby, for instance) and many puzzles packaged with the historic section.
The Bulletin’s Sunday Yesteryear feature will not appear in print on historic section Sundays, but it will appear on our website. It will appear in the paper on all other Sundays.
The Bulletin’s arts and entertainment staff also produce GO! Magazine, which will continue to appear in Thursday’s paper. It will be combined with The Bulletin’s TV book, which has until now been distributed in the Saturday paper. The result will be a unified arts and entertainment guide that can tell you what’s playing on Hulu, what’s happening at the Tower Theatre and where to find a food truck that serves fried chicken tacos.
What Bulletin readers will not find during the rest of the week are themed lifestyle sections, though the kinds of stories on which those sections had focused will continue to appear in smaller bites throughout the week. Liz Douville’s gardening column, meanwhile, will move to Sundays.
The Bulletin, finally, will adopt a two-section format every day except Sunday. Monday’s and Tuesday’s editions already consist of two longer sections while editions from Wednesday through Saturday consist of four short sections. The Bulletin’s design will become more uniform and compact throughout the week, though the paper can expand on any given day in response to high advertising volume. You can be sure that our advertising department will continue to work hard to that end.
— Erik Lukens is editor of The Bulletin.