Readers aid Tribune redesign process

Tribune Staff • Jul 21, 2015 at 2:38 PM

She is the big winner of our drawing after filling out the Tribune’s redesign survey.

Nelson — who vividly remembers the days when paperboys stood on corners barking out “Extra, extra!” as they tried to sell special news editions of the newspaper — grew up in Grand Haven and raised her own family with the Tribune as a constant companion.

“Every page I find something interesting,” the retired nurse said.

We heard a lot of stories and feedback like Mary’s in our redesign survey that about 200 residents filled out earlier this year.

The Tribune has been delivering your news to Tri-Cities residents for more than 128 years. We, along with Mary, are looking forward to the next century of newsgathering.

To remain vibrant and relevant in our 24/7 world, the Tribune is updating our look and offerings. One of the first steps in our redesign efforts was to ask you, our readers, to weigh in. We put together an extensive survey and you let us know what you think.

Here’s what we learned:

• You are dedicated readers of the print edition of the Tribune and are glad that we offer a paper six days a week in addition to our 24/7 website. No worries, you will absolutely continue to get your paper delivered daily.

• More than half of those surveyed felt our strength is our coverage of local news. You just can’t get that local news anywhere else. Thirty percent of our survey respondents listed local sports coverage as our top strength, while opinion finished third on the list.

• Our biggest weaknesses? Not enough national news, a few too many proofreading blunders, and print type that’s sometimes hard to read. You’ll be happy to know we’re considering adding more content in the Tribune — such as education, environment, health, politics, business and more. We are also putting into place improved proofreading protocols as well as looking at how we can bump up the size of our text to make it easier on the eyes.

• Most of you continue reading the Tribune day after day, year after year because of our coverage of local news and sports, opinion and obituaries. We thank you for your loyalty and readership. Many of you feel a strong sense of ownership — dozens of readers, in fact, said they keep reading because the Tribune is “my paper.” Others said you loved “being in the know” and “keeping up to date on local happenings.” We are there for you, and will continue to be so.

• You’d like to see more of, well, almost everything — opinion, sports, local news, columns, features, health, politics, school news and business. We’re working on how to make that happen for you while still keeping our bottom line heading in the right direction.

• You slightly prefer in-depth articles over short, graphic-packed items. This was a fairly close split. One reader wrote, “You have a good blend — please don’t McNews the Trib.” No need for concern — we heard you, and we will continue to offer a good mix of story types.

• A strong headline and great photos draw you in to an article.

Some of your answers put smiles on our faces. Others, we must admit, were fairly tough to swallow. We’re taking both the good and the bad, and doing our best to use your input to guide our efforts as we move forward.

Mary, for instance, wants to make sure we don’t change the Opinion page or comics too much as they’ve long been something she looks forward to each day. “Pickles” is her favorite comic strip.

Thanks to our many readers for filling out the survey, and a special congratulations goes out to Mary, who said she’d give some of her winnings to local animal shelters.

If you have input on how you think the Tribune’s print product could look better, feel free to let us know by emailing your suggestions to redesign@grandhaventribune.com; or mailing them to Redesign, Grand Haven Tribune, 101 N. Third St., Grand Haven, MI 49417.

At this point, we’re looking toward a fall rollout of our new ’do. Stay tuned!

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