The changing face of the Dorchester Banner

Constant change seems inevitable. This fact undergirds life nowadays. “Everything is changing,” we say to one another. And it’s true: Things change constantly. Here, too, at the Banner, things are changing.

Starting next week, we will merge the Wednesday and Friday issues to create a weekly paper that will publish every Thursday.
We are making this change for a good reason. Merging the two weekly issues into one will create efficiencies in production, printing and distribution. The merger undoubtedly will save time now devoted to production and composition, allowing us, in the long-run, to improve our coverage by using this time for more and better coverage of community events, sports, local schools and government.

This is truly a case where less is more, so with next week’s issue, we will only produce and print a single newspaper. The merged paper will have a minimum of 32 pages. Importantly, we will also change the format of the newspaper next week. Right now, the page you are reading is 12 inches deep. Next week, we will begin printing pages that are 15 inches deep. This will mean each page will be 25 percent larger.

The larger page size will mean room for more editorial content in each issue, and this increase, in conjunction with 32 pages each week, will mean we will be able to publish as much news in one issue as we are now publishing in two issues.

This change gives us a golden opportunity to fine-tune the design of the paper. In the next issue, you will notice, for example, a slightly larger typeface for our stories, to make them easier to read. This change should be a welcome relief to all our readers.

The larger page size will translate into larger ad sizes, so that local businesses will automatically have 25 percent more space to promote their goods and services. Another convenience from a single weekly issue are simplified, easier to remember deadlines. And in today’s environment any simplification is a benefit.
We have also reimagined our advertising sales approach by creating a host of new added-value, multi-media offerings that combine newspaper advertising with new digital capabilities. We are not just crossing the digital divide but embracing new media in a unique and exciting way.

So, yes, things change. That is true, but despite life’s flux, certain things will not change. As we are all also fond of saying, “The more things change, the more they stay the same.”

For instance, we will continue to publish the Cambridge Extra, our ever-popular schedule of special-event programs and sections, the glossy county profile, “Water Moves Us,” and our other standalone print products.

But the one thing of utmost importance that will not change is the Banner’s steadfast commitment to serving Cambridge and Dorchester County. The paper has been published since 1897, just more than 120 years, and we want to make certain we are here for another 120 years. Of course, the irony is that to honor this commitment and to preserve the future of the newspaper, we must recognize that tomorrow’s success requires change today.

Editor’s note: Darel La Prade is publisher of the Dorchester Banner and four other weekly newspapers on Delmarva. He can be reached at dlaprade@newszap.com.