BND announces format changes for newspaper

July 5, 2014 

Big changes are coming to the Belleville News-Democrat.

We're converting the BND to a three-section newspaper on weekdays to help us better manage our newsprint and add more color to our pages. The new set-up starts Tuesday.

Here are some of the highlights:

* An A section that's packed with local content. We are combining the old A and B sections into one section that features mostly local news and other information, including obituaries, the obituary list and our Opinions page. The daily national and international news report will appear in the back of the new A section.

* More color on our inside pages. You'll see additional color in the BND starting Tuesday, but we'll have even more color after we add a new piece of equipment on our printing press in mid- to late-August.

* Daily color comics. Changing our daily comics from black and white means you'll have color comics seven days a week in the BND.

* Classified pages that are grouped in one section each day, rather than spread throughout the newspaper.

Right about now you may be wondering how a three-section publication helps us do a better job of controlling one of our biggest expenses -- newsprint.

Here's the best way I can describe it:

Our printing equipment requires us to match up section sizes when we publish a four-section newspaper. The first and third sections have to be the same size, and the second and fourth sections must match. That means on some days we've had too much space in parts of the newspaper just to make the sections balance. Other times, we haven't had the space we needed in certain sections.

In a three-section paper, we can make each section the size we need it, when we need it.

None of the changes outlined in this column involves reducing any local content -- news, features, sports or photos.

In fact, our commitment to local coverage is stronger than ever, and our mission remains the same: to be the first and best source of local news in Southern Illinois; to be a watchdog over public institutions, public officials and tax dollars; to shed light on community issues from all sides, and to tell the stories of metro-east people.

We appreciate the opportunity to try to achieve that mission for you every day.

We'd love to hear what you think of the changes that begin with Tuesday's newspaper. You can send us your feedback at ideas@bnd.com or by calling our reader line at 618-239-2743.

Thank you for reading the BND and visiting bnd.com.

Jeffry Couch is editor and vice president of the BND and bnd.com. He can be reached at jcouch@bnd.com or 618-239-2551. Follow him on Twitter @jcouch.

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