Sunday, September 13, 2009

You spoke, we listened: The TV book is back

Notice something different with The Sunday Mercury delivered to your doorstep or driveway today?
Or, perhaps we should say something familiar that’s returned after an absence?
Today’s home-delivered editions of The Sunday Mercury include “TV Book Plus,” a complete section of TV program listings, games and features to replace the former TV book, “Channels,” that was phased out of publication last year.
The new book will be offered to home subscribers today and next Sunday as a trial and will then be available to purchase as part of the home-delivery package each week. The book is making its return just in time for the season of fall premieres.
We’ve been in business here at the corner of Hanover and King streets for 78 years since the publication of our first edition on Sept. 29, 1931. I’ve worked here for almost half that number of years, and I’ve been involved in a number of changes both in content and emphasis during that time.
Whenever we change, there is always something that some readers miss. I have learned over the years, for example, that fiddling with the comics selection is not to be treated lightly - for many people, it’s like removing a family member from the kitchen table.
A redesign to upgrade the look of the paper can be a disaster if people find the typeface more difficult to read. And, taking away a favorite feature is viewed by some readers as a plot to take happiness out of their lives.
As a newsperson, I need to be reminded from time to time that many people buy a newspaper for the comics, the puzzles, obituaries, advertising inserts and SoundOff -- all things that have little to do with the energy and effort we put into news and sports coverage of the community.
But, that’s okay. The more time a reader spends with our paper, as in doing a puzzle or combing store specials listings, and the more smiles we bring through a favorite comic or local witticisms, the more important we are in your household.
That daily connection is what matters.
The other downfall surrounding change is knowing when it’s time to reevaluate and freshen up. As we celebrate our 78th year this month, we are looking at ways to become more relevant, more appealing and more useful to you, our readers.
The return of the TV book to The Sunday Mercury is just one of many changes we’re planning this fall to update and improve your community newspaper.
Many readers have told us they missed having a TV book, even though we expanded our daily listings. The listings were not all that was missed, you told us. The TV crossword and TV trivia were important and entertaining, too.
You spoke up, and we listened. The newly designed TV Book Plus includes not only a crossword but sudoku puzzles. The book features a celebrity Q&A, extensive movie and sports highlights, and soap opera updates.
The grids are easy to read and include day, night and late-night listings.
The book is back. We hope it finds a home with you.


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