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

Snohomish residents Barbara Bailey, right, and Beth Jarvis sit on a gate atop a levee on Bailey’s property on Monday, May 13, 2024, at Bailey Farm in Snohomish, Washington. Bailey is concerned the expansion of nearby Harvey Field Airport will lead to levee failures during future flood events due to a reduction of space for floodwater to safely go. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Harvey Field seeks to reroute runway in floodplain, faces new pushback

Snohomish farmers and neighbors worry the project will be disruptive and worsen flooding. Ownership advised people to “read the science.”

Grayson Huff, left, a 4th grader at Pinewood Elementary, peeks around his sign during the Marysville School District budget presentation on Tuesday, Nov. 28, 2023 in Marysville, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
State OKs Marysville plan with schools, jobs on chopping block

The revised plan would mean the loss of dozens of jobs and two schools — still to be identified — in a school district staring down a budget crunch.

IAM District 751 machinists join the picket line to support Boeing firefighters during their lockout from the company on Thursday, May 16, 2024, in Everett, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Amid lockout, Boeing, union firefighters return to bargaining table

The firefighters and the planemaker held limited negotiations this week: They plan to meet again Monday, but a lockout continues.

The Trestle’s junction with I-5 is under evaluation (Kevin Clark / The Herald)
Here’s your chance to give feedback on the US 2 trestle and its future

Often feel overwhelmed, vulnerable and on shaky ground? So is the trestle. A new $17 million study seeks solutions for the route east of Everett.

Suspected DUI crash injures trooper on I-5 north in Lynnwood

WSP spokesperson said two suspected impaired drivers have crashed into a state trooper in the past 24 hours.

John Pederson lifts a flag in the air while himself and other maintenance crew set up flags for Memorial Day at Floral Hills Cemetery on Friday, May 24, 2024 in Lynnwood, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Volunteers place thousands of flags by veterans’ graves in Lynnwood

Ahead of Memorial Day, local veterans ensure fellow military service members are never forgotten.

People hang up hearts with messages about saving the Clark Park gazebo during a “heart bomb” event hosted by Historic Everett on Saturday, Feb. 17, 2024 in Everett, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Future of historic Clark Park gazebo now in hands of City Council

On June 5, the Everett council is set to decide whether to fund removal of the gazebo. It could be stored elsewhere.

Brian Hennessy leads a demonstration of equipment used in fire training at the Maritime Institute in Everett, Washington on Wednesday, May 22, 2024. (Annie Barker / The Herald)
‘Ready to go full sail’: Maritime Institute embarks at Port of Everett

The training facility offers Coast Guard-certified courses for recreational boaters and commercial vessel operators.

George Beard poses for a photo outside of the the Stanwood Library in Stanwood, Washington on Wednesday, May 8, 2024.  (Annie Barker / The Herald)
From sick to the streets: How an illness left a Stanwood man homeless

Medical bills wiped out George Beard’s savings. Left to heal in his car, he got sicker. Now, he’s desperate for housing. It could take years.

Logo for news use featuring Snohomish County, Washington. 220118
Lawsuit says Snohomish County deputies not justified in Sultan shooting

Two deputies repeatedly shot an unarmed Sultan man last year, body camera video shows. An internal investigation is pending.

An airplane is parked at Gate M9 on Tuesday, May 21, 2024 at O’Hare International Airport in Chicago, Illinois. (Jordan Hansen/The Herald)
Good luck to Memorial Day travelers: If you’re like me, you’ll need it

I spent a night in the Chicago airport. I wouldn’t recommend it — but with flight delays near an all-time high, you might want to pack a pillow.

Editorial cartoons for Friday, May 24

A sketchy look at the news of the day.… Continue reading

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.