From Where I Sit
I imagine that all parents like me remember the feeling they had when their first new baby finally arrived. That moment when you first laid eyes on him or her, the pride you felt and how you could not help but think about all of the possibilities for them. Well I kind of feel that way today. Don’t get me wrong I am not comparing my feelings about publishing today’s “reimagined” Birmingham Times with those I had when either of my two daughters were born but I can’t help beam with pride and think about the possibilities.
When we took over The Times back in February we promised to build on the dream that Dr. Jesse J. Lewis, Sr. started when he printed the first edition of The Birmingham Times in 1964 we committed to not just informing, engaging and empowering our readers but to reposition The Times for the next 50 years. You can’t do it if you don’t make a commitment to content and covering the community so we started day one to improve in both areas, building on that promise with the first edition published in February. People have noticed. We hear good things about the direction that we are headed, not just from friends and family, but from people throughout the community.
If you have not read us you have missed the story we did about Alzheimer’s disease, or the discussion around the slave mural in the Jefferson County Courthouse. We also received feedback on the story we did about the role of barbershops in the black community. With the third installment of the comedy “Barbershop 3” arriving in theatres we thought it was an engaging conversation. And the “Human Trafficking” story in last week’s paper and online was one that has us thinking about the possibilities.
So today you are reading the Times in a whole new format. It is part of that promise to reposition the Times. Make no mistake this new format is just one piece of that promise, but it is an important piece because it provides us with a way to reach new readers and it invites many of our old readers back to rediscover The Birmingham Times.
Let me tell what to expect each week. This book (which is what I call it) is designed around what we are calling a centerpiece story. Our cover will make it pretty clear what the centerpiece story is and we will also point out on the cover the most important stories inside and where to find them.
You should expect us to provide you with a compelling story each week across a range of topics. We plan to be unpredictable, one week covering the mayor and politics and the next week covering health or education or Dontay Wilder’s next heavyweight fight here in Birmingham or someplace else in the world.
You should expect diverse topics and diverse faces in the Birmingham Times and while we will continue to cover the community from an African American perspective we want to ensure that everyone in Birmingham feels welcome to read the Times.
Lastly; I hope you notice the design, it is intentional and planned to help you navigate the newspaper easier and for you to come to expect where to find certain topics, in other words expect us to be pretty predictable in where content shows up week to week. I should note that, for the most part, you should not expect to find really long stories outside enterprise, investigative and some well-sourced cover stories. We understand your time is valuable so we want to make sure we tell you the story in a digestible way that allows you to read it over coffee or a sandwich at lunch.
Well, enough telling you about and bragging about this new baby, let me get you to reading it. I hope you like and it and that you like me can’t help but think about the possibilities.