Mix it up

Welcome to this week’s Reno News & Review.

Some of you will notice a change in this week’s issue.

The cover story is not the cover story. The cover pitches the Arts & Culture story. It’s a break with almost a decade’s tradition here at the paper.

The idea was put into motion at a workshop at a recent alternative newsweekly conference in San Antonio. The workshop was about the ways magazines go about keeping their readers interested in what’s on their pages. Anyway, the idea of not putting the longest story on the cover came up, and it must have been just the right moment because Chief Operations Officer Deborah Redmond and I looked at each other and said, “Let’s do that.”

There are a couple of reasons for doing it. First, this paper is very small, as newsweeklies go, and sometimes I feel it’s a little over-templated. Anything we can do to stir the mix and to keep you, our readers, intrigued is fine by me. Also, the cover, according to almost every piece of data I have, is the major reason new readers take a look at the paper. Once someone picks up the paper, they’re going to read it. It seems to me by being imprisoned in a cell that says, “We will only put our longest feature story on the cover,” we are shooting ourselves in the foot.

Unfortunately, it’s not as simple as picking the best photograph in that week’s issue and sticking it on the cover. Sometimes, you can have a fantastic photo that isn’t a good cover. In fact, sometimes a great photo can tank as far as pick-up numbers go, but an abstract photo—if it’s illustrating the right topic—can go through the roof.

Anyway, I imagine it’s going to take some time to get this dialed in, and I hope you’ll bear with us.

Reason to vote No. 36: Do you support couples’ rights to marry? Your vote will define marriage.