We’re focusing on your needs

Newspapers have always been designed for readers, but never more so than now and in the future.

The combination of busier people, emerging new media and a sophisticated society has forced those of us with newspaper ink in our blood to rethink our business and focus on readers. The end result is hopefully a newspaper that gives readers the news they need in a format that fits their lifestyles.

That’s not an easy accomplishment, but something we’re striving toward

To that end, The Herald has created a new group of employees who are all geared toward looking out for readers’ best interests. The Readership Committee is made up of members from the news, circulation and marketing departments.

I call us the anti-Dilbert group because we are searching for new ways to present our newspaper to the public, while not getting caught up in old habits and falling back into the traditional way of doing things. Our goal is to make business decisions that serve readers as well as the company.

Removing the old barriers between news, marketing and circulation must be done carefully. The walls exist for a very good reason – to keep the integrity of the news. If we have one thing to rely on, it’s the credibility of the news and the confidence of readers that the newspaper is not being compromised by the business arm of the company.

The downside of this barrier is that it sometimes causes us to be too isolated from one another and sacrifice opportunities to reach out to readers. For example, before my position was created at the beginning of this year, no one was charged with alerting the circulation department that a big story was coming the next day so that arrangements could be made to ensure there were enough newspapers at news racks and in stores to meet demand. And marketing was missing out on opportunities to promote reader awareness of our local news stories.

We’re now learning that, through communication, we can put ourselves in a better position in the community and still maintain our independence. People in marketing and circulation will never decide what stories are written or how they’re displayed in the paper. But if they know what decisions news is making, they can do their jobs better.

The Herald isn’t the only newspaper taking steps to make sure that readers are the top concern. In fact, the industry as a whole is starting to recognize that our priorities may have been askew. The summer edition of American Journalism Review, a respected trade journal, leads with a story titled, "Reader Friendly."

It explains how many newspapers across the country are starting efforts similar to ours to reconnect with readers and join forces with other departments within the company. Editors are starting to ask, "what’s in it for the reader?"

Newspapers once were the only game in town. No longer. We realize we have to be in better touch with our readers to make The Herald relevant to people’s lives.

Unfortunately, society is more complex than it used to be. Connecting with readers isn’t a simple task. But it’s certainly worth a major effort. Through the efforts of The Herald Readership Committee, we should be able to get a better handle on what our readers are looking for in their local newspaper. We’re aware of the fact that newspapers need to adapt with the times, and we want to make sure we’re changing the way you want us to.

"Your Newspaper" is a column about the newspaper written by Stan Strick, executive editor, and Suzanne Ames, public journalism editor. It appears here every Sunday. You can call Strick at 425-339-3480 and Ames at 425-339-3097 or send e-mail to them at

yournewspaper@heraldnet.com. To read previous "Your Newspaper" columns, go online to www.heraldnet.com/yournewspaper/.

Talk to us

> Give us your news tips.

> Send us a letter to the editor.

> More Herald contact information.

More in Local News

Kim Skarda points at her home on a map on Thursday, June 20, 2024 in Concrete, Washington. A community called Sauk River Estates has a very steep slope above it. There is a DNR-approved timber sale that boarders the estate properties, yet they were not consulted about the sale before approval. The community has already appealed the sale and has hired their own geologist to conduct a slope stability report at the site. (Annie Barker / The Herald)
Beneath steep slope, Concrete neighbors fear landslides from logging above

Nielsen Brothers plans to cut 54 acres of timber directly behind the community of 83 homes. Locals said they were never consulted.

Law enforcement respond to a person hit by a train near the Port of Everett Mount Baker Terminal on Thursday, June 27, 2024 in Mukilteo, Washington. (Annie Barker / The Herald)
2 killed in waterfront train crashes were near Mukilteo ‘quiet zone’

In June, two people were hit by trains on separate days near Mukilteo Boulevard. “These situations are incredibly tragic,” Everett’s mayor said.

Rob Plotnikoff takes a measurement as a part of the county's State of Our Waters survey at Tambark Creek in Bothell, Washington on Monday, July 1, 2024. (Annie Barker / The Herald)
Snohomish County stream team bushwhacks a path to healthier waterways

This summer, the crew of three will survey 40 sites for the State of Our Waters program. It’s science in locals’ backyards.

Logo for news use featuring the municipality of Mountlake Terrace in Snohomish County, Washington. 220118
4th suspect arrested after Mountlake Terrace home robbery

Police arrested Taievion Rogers, 19, on Tuesday. Prosecutors charged his three alleged accomplices in April.

A 10 acre parcel off of Highway 99, between 240th and 242nd Street Southwest that the city of Edmonds is currently in the process of acquiring on Monday, July 10, 2023 in Edmonds, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Edmonds ditches $37M Landmark public park project off Highway 99

The previous mayor envisioned parks and more in south Edmonds, in a historically neglected area. The new administration is battling budget woes.

Edmonds school official sworn in as Mount Vernon supe

Victor Vergara took his oath of office last week. He was assistant superintendent of equity and student success in Edmonds.

Traffic camera shows Everett and Marysville firefighters on the scene of a crane accident along northbound I-5 near milepost 198 Tuesday evening. (Provided photo)
Two workers fall from I-5 bridge Tuesday evening

The workers were in a “cherry picker” type bucket when it tipped over. One man fell 60 feet into the water and was taken to the hospital.

Everett motorcyclist dies on Highway 99

Alexis Hernandez Cerritos was riding south on Highway 99 when a car driving north turned in front of him.

Cash is used for a purchase at Molly Moon's Ice Cream in Edmonds, Washington on Wednesday, Aug. 30, 2023. (Annie Barker / The Herald)
Everett’s rival minimum wage proposals: Second group submits signatures

Supporters from Raise the Wage Responsibly said their proposal strikes a balance between employees and employers.

Components of downtown Marysville’s new stormwater treatment facility can be seen from the walkway on Thursday, July 11, 2024, in Marysville, Washington. While much of the treatment and filtering happens out of sight, visitors of the area will see troughs, left, spilling water out onto the surrounding landscape, which soaks up the filtered water before it makes its way into a nearby lagoon. Overflow grates, right, help alleviate flooding during heavy rains. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
At new Marysville water treatment facility, plants filter out pollutants

City officials expect the $14 million project to clean 110 million gallons of water every year, reducing harm to wildlife.

Everett man sentenced to jail for threatening to bomb car dealership

The sentencing of Michael Harsh comes over two years after he threatened to bomb an Evergreen girls basketball game.

Everett courthouse garage briefly closed for ‘suspicious package’ report

A man drove his car into the Snohomish County Courthouse garage and reported he believed the package was in his car.

Support local journalism

If you value local news, make a gift now to support the trusted journalism you get in The Daily Herald. Donations processed in this system are not tax deductible.