Magazine article Editor & Publisher

'Chicago Tribune': We Goofed on Redesign

Magazine article Editor & Publisher

'Chicago Tribune': We Goofed on Redesign

Article excerpt

In an extraordinary mea culpa wrapped around its A-section Thursday, the Chicago Tribune acknowledged that its much-ballyhooed redesign was a flop with many readers.

"You spoke, we listened," was the headline for a note to readers from Editor Gerould W. Kern published in a spadia that discussed how the paper's design would change from its radical transformation launched last Sept. 29 -- and how it wouldn't.

Using a format of listing reader complaints under the hed "You Told Us" and responding "What We're Doing," the Tribune said it would work on the paper's navigation, which many readers found confusing, and said it has been "refining our approach" to reader objections that the Trib had become "too loud."

Specifically, the Tribune said it would bring back the business section as its own section front. Depending on the day, and seemingly without any pattern, the business section would previously sometimes have its own section front and at other times appear in the middle of another section.

The Tribune also said it had stopped a practice many readers found particularly annoying: jumping stories to other sections.

"We hate it too," the spadia said. "And we've stopped doing it."

The wraparound also served to introduce a new "Chicagoland Extra" section of very local news that will be launched Jan. 21. The regional sections will run Wednesday through Friday. The paper emphasized that its daily "Chicagoland" report of local news will continue to run in what it is calling the "Main News" section, the A-section.

At the same time the Trib was promising or showing changes from the September redesign in the spadia, it was also defending many elements of the new approach -- which was part of a company-wide mandate by financially troubled Tribune Co. to come up with designs that had smaller newsholes and could be produced quicker with fewer journalists. …

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