By Sam Martin
Today’s newspaper is the third edition since the transition of ownership from Dr. Jesse J. Lewis Sr. to the Foundation for Progress in Journalism. I hope you have enjoyed the last two editions and I trust you will be pleased with today’s newspaper.
Over the months as we discussed this transition with Dr. Lewis he wanted to ensure that the plans we were making positioned The Birmingham Times for the next 50 years and we have plenty of changes in mind to do just that. The feedback we have gotten after the first two editions has been overwhelming and it has been rewarding to know we are taking the Times in the right direction, but you ain’t seen nothing yet.
Coming this spring you won’t recognize the Times in print or on the web as the content will continue to evolve with less focus on covering news that you already know and more focus on informing our readers about greater Birmingham — its culture, its community and more.
We plan to change the format making it physically smaller and easier to handle. Our website will be redesigned and we will introduce a mobile app. We plan to change our distribution strategy, we need more readers in print and online and to do that we need to be in more places, so we are going to find more places to be. Even our logo will change, while we want our loyal readers to continue to read us, we want to expose new readers to our “Reimagined” Times.
And did I mention content? You will get more each week. You will see more people from the community on the pages of the newspaper and on our newly designed website.
We already started fulfilling that commitment with recent stories about Andrea Taylor, CEO of the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute and a story about a Birmingham Housing Authority resident who participated in a fatherhood initiative program after being blinded in his left eye by a gunshot, and there are more compelling stories to come. Our mission is to inform, engage and empower our readers.
I hope you can tell that I am excited about the future and I wanted to share just a little bit of it with our readers. I also wanted to note that in the past our readers have come to expect a voice from the publisher’s office to give a perspective or two about various issues local and beyond. That will continue but not as often as you may have grown accustomed to from Dr. Lewis.
Today’s column “From Where I Sit” will serve as our new forum to provide perspective from the publisher of the Times. Dr. Lewis’s column “One Man’s Opinion” was a regular feature that readers looked forward to and his view on things can’t be replaced since few people have the history, the living, and the knowledge of the community or his perspective. Fortunately, Dr. Lewis has agreed to lend his perspective from time to time, so read often, you never know when he may get the urge to share.
As the new President and Publisher of the Birmingham Times I don’t expect to replace Dr. Lewis’s take on Birmingham or the world with my column, but every now and then I hope to let our readers know just where I sit.
Samuel P. Martin is the president and publisher of The Birmingham Times Media Group LLC.