Friday, August 24, 2007

Readers comment on our recent changes to The Tribune

Q: I hate the new format. I think you have sacrificed the quality of the local news issues by reducing the number of pages and combining the local section with the business section ….
_ Zeke

You have done a good job managing the paper, but with your new format, I am disappointed. There seems to be so much less national and world news. Can’t you bring back what you have cut?
_ From several readers

A: Contrary to perceptions, we have not reduced the amount of space devoted to Local, Business or Nation/World news, with one exception, which is Monday’s edition when Local news runs in the main A section. Most U.S. newspapers have small editions on Mondays and we felt we could cut back on space that day to realize some savings in newsprint.
It is true that Business is no longer a section front Tuesday through Saturday. Business news used to be the front of a section that was combined with Features. When we created the new Central Coast Living features tab, Business had to go into an existing section, and Local was the best fit. But the space allocated to Business news remains unchanged.
_ Tad Weber

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Where is news of the big earthquake in Peru?

Where in today's paper is news about the huge earthquake in Peru? Talk about ethnocentricity! If the U.S. had a 7.5 earthquake I'm sure you would write about it.
_ Ruth Alcala

Good question, Ruth. As of deadline, the only story that had moved on our wire services said 15 people had been killed. We have a story today on Page A3 reflecting that, but it is a small story, and could have been easily missed. We were at the mercy of our wire services, and could not really get more than what we published. We will have fuller coverage in tomorrow's edition.
Rest assured, we understand the significance of this earthquake. No ethnocentricity being applied.
_ Tad Weber

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Reader comment on our kayak series

FIVE days of FRONT page coverage of an "adventure" your staff members have??? PLUS an editorial telling us how great it is. Enough. What is next? An exclusive three parter on your editor's daughter's wedding? A four part series on the copy boy's hernia operation? If this is a preview of your "NEW" look, go back!!! By the way, when will you be covering MY summer vacation? Ridiculous!!
_ John Carroll

Mr. Carroll: I am sorry you are not enjoying the kayak series. It will conclude on Thursday. We believe that there are many in our readership who are interested in the topic and the adventure our reporter and photographer experienced. As a reader of The Tribune, you understand that we rarely tell first-person accounts. But we did so in this case because the topic is near and dear to many of our readers, who have consistently told us that the county coastline is one of the things they value most about living here.
P.S. A reporter-photographer team for the San Francisco Chronicle told that paper’s readers of a kayaking experience they undertook on the Northern California coastline, and in recent years a Fresno Bee team hiked the John Muir Trail in the Sierra and related that adventure. I wish our project was unique, but actually it is not.
_ Tad Weber

Monday, August 13, 2007

SLO crime map debuts on our Web site

I commend to your Web viewing a new feature on Our crime map for the city of San Luis Obispo.
What is the crime map?
It is a daily listing of the calls that officers responded to in the previous day, shown as points on a map of the city. The information is shown three ways -- on the basic city map, on a satellite image of the city, and as a hybrid, which puts the map onto the satellite image.
Each call is shown as a pin on the map, and each is color-coded based on the call. For example, vandalism calls are purple.
When you click on a particular pin, a window pops open to give the address and the time of the call. There is also a master list under the map of all the calls. Today's map and list contain nearly 30 calls from Sunday.
We think this kind of useful feature will be valuable to our Web viewers who are eager to find out what kind of crime may occur near their home. Those of you who live in other cities of our county will wonder when we will have a map for your hometown. The short answer is we are in the process of working with the other cities on their crime maps; there are some software issues that must be solved.
Drop me a comment here to let me know what you think about this feature. Or you can e-mail Online Editor Sally Buffalo at
_ Tad Weber

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Covering Hollywood scandals

A new national survey by the Pew Research Center for People and the Press found that nine in 10 Americans think scandals involving celebrities receive too much media coverage. Only 2 percent of the respondents think the scandals get too little attention. Eight percent said current coverage is about right.
Of those who think coverage of celebrities behaving badly is overdone, 54 percent of them blamed the media.
We strive to keep celebrity coverage in its proper place. On the one hand, many readers love to find out the latest gossip about their favorite stars. But there is an equally large number of readers who think such news has no place in our paper. To provide Hollywood news without going overboard, we anchor such items on Page 2 of our main news section under the Espresso heading. That is where we ran the recent news of Paris Hilton's jail experience, for example.
Some readers have asked why celebrity news has to be on Page 2 and not farther back in the paper. The answer is that often such news breaks late, so we cannot push it deeper into the issue. We need to put it on one of the pages that we can move late in the evening.
_ Tad Weber