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From the Editor

Jeff Keating

When you picked up your copy of the News-Press this morning, one of

your first thoughts probably was one of the same ones I had:

Boy, does this thing look different.

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It sure does. And looks aren’t the half of it.

Starting today, the News-Press takes on a new look and a new way of

presenting the news. In addition to gazing at a different design -- new

fonts, new standing features, streamlined presentation of photos and text

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on the page -- you’ll discover our editorial content is organized

differently. Gone is the sometimes haphazard (though interesting and

vital) page-to-page collection of community stories, briefs, calendars

and logs. In its place you’ll find clearly delineated sections -- local

news, education, police and courts, entertainment, and so on.

We’ve moved some key pages around, too. The most obvious one is

Community Forum, which traditionally has been toward the back of the

newspaper’s A section each day. It’s now on Page 2, and always will be,

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along with an expanded News-Press staff box that offers the titles,

direct phone numbers and e-mail addresses of everyone in the editorial

department.

If that seems like a lot to absorb in one fell swoop, consider this:

In conjunction with the redesign of the paper’s look, we are undergoing a

wholesale changeover in our computer composition, design and layout

system. Our present system, which uses a news-writing and editing program

known as Decade and the popular layout and design program Quark Xpress,

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is being replaced by a system designed by Denmark-based Computer

Composition International, something known as CCI around these parts. In

fact, the paper you hold in your hands was the very first one we’ve

produced using CCI. (Don’t ask me to explain too much about CCI’s

details; I’m pretty new at it myself.)

The reasons for these changes in design and computer production are

myriad, but two rise above the rest:

* CCI allows the News-Press’ writing, editing, layout, design and

production process to mirror that of the Los Angeles Times, of which

Times Community News -- the News-Press’ company -- as a unit. The Times

and its parent, Tribune Co., have invested enormous amounts of time,

professional expertise, money and, most of all, faith in the News-Press

and in Times Community News through the implementation of CCI, a process

that will be followed at TCN’s five other papers as the summer rolls

along. (Our sister paper, the Burbank Leader, rolls out its new look

Wednesday). It is an enormous vote of confidence in our viability as an

organization, our importance to the community and the company, and the

emphasis The Times and Tribune Co. place on giving their publications the

best equipment and expertise possible.

* One of Times Community News’ goals is to publish newspapers that are

readily identifiable as TCN publications, and include all of the

community-oriented news and features we consider our mission to bring

you. That goal is more easily achieved with design elements and

organization that, while not perfectly identical from paper to paper, let

our thousands of readers know we’re part of one family.

That’s not to say this whole deal has gone down without a hitch. Oh,

no. We’ve lost count of the meetings, trial runs, false starts and

electronic snafus it’s taken to get us here. And we expect to make some

mistakes going forward, at least for a while. So if you see or read

something that doesn’t look quite right, chances are we’ve seen it and

read it and already are doing what we can to correct it. We beg your

patience, indulgence and understanding.

Meanwhile, we hope you enjoy the new look of the News-Press and the

new way the paper’s put together. We think it’s quite a step forward, and

are happy you’re along for the journey.

* Jeff Keating is editor of the News-Press and Burbank Leader. He can

be reached at 637-3234 or by e-mail at jeff.keating@latimes.com.


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