The Commercial-News, Danville, IL

September 5, 2009

Larry Smith: Changes give readers more of what they want

No one would ever consider the newspaper business to be static. Our product changes day to day. And while some practices can become routine, there’s always the opportunity to improve.

That’s what we’re doing today.

This edition of the Commercial-News marks the first in a new configuration for our Sunday editions. While the number of pages stays the same — if not more than a typical Sunday — there is one less section.

We’ve taken the pages that used to make up the Viewpoints section and spread them out.

Today’s A and B sections jump from their usual six pages to 10 pages.

In the A section, Opinion and Viewpoint pages appear just as they once did, but there’s also two additional pages to bring readers the latest in national and international news.

In the B section, our Sports coverage expands by a page, Entertainment grows from one page to two pages and we’ve added two pages for Business news — with a special concentration on local businesses.

The reconfiguration allows us to provide readers with more of what they’ve told us they want — news. Whether it comes from across the globe or from the office down the street, we’re now able to include it in our Sunday edition.

Also, the weekly column from Dr. Richard Elghammer now will appear on Monday’s Health page every week.

Good news

And, speaking of local business news, we have a little of our own to share.

Our parent company has invested more than $125,000 in a new piece of equipment to improve our printing process.

Last week, we would send our completed pages to a machine that creates a film negative — much like the old negatives from your camera. That negative then was used to create the printing plate for our press.

Later this week, we’ll send our pages straight to the machine that makes the printing plates.

The process should make our photos look better and generally improve the appearance of the newspaper.

It also stands as a significant commitment by our company in the Commercial-News and its readers.

Also, we learned this week our news staff earned two awards in the annual Illinois Associated Press Editors Association contest.

Sports Editor Chad Dare received a first-place award for his story about the Junior Speakers making a trip to the 2008 state tournament.

Our news staff received a second-place award in our circulation category for its extensive coverage of state funding that temporarily closed Kickapoo State Park.

The contest was judged by journalists from another state. It’s always nice to be recognized for good work.

We hope to continue to bring readers good stories and important information. Our staff is working on several significant stories now, so watch for the results in the weeks ahead.

As always, thanks for reading the Commercial-News.

Larry Smith is editor of the Commercial-News. Contact him at