Out with the old ... in with the, um, old

Wow, what a week.
After more than a year of planning, committee meetings, reader feedback surveys, conference calls, training seminars and brainstorming sessions, our newspaper (and that of our sister paper, the Beaufort Gazette) launched entirely redesigned papers this past Monday. It is a project I’ve worked on since before getting the features editor job — the managing editor wanted features changed from top to bottom when I took over — and frankly, I’m pretty proud of what we did.

After hours and hours of work and hundreds of improvements, we received one overwhelming bit of feedback: People love Blondie. They love Hagar the Horrible, and B.C., and even Hi and Lois.

And when you take Hi and Hagar and Dagwood off the comics page, it doesn’t matter what improvements you’ve made. It doesn’t matter that you’ve given them fresh, funny new comics like Non Sequitur and Zits, that you’ve added an entirely new entertainment section, that there are new features and columns throughout the paper. It doesn’t matter that you’ve built a $30 million press to give your readers the sharpest photos and clearest images available in the whole wide world of newspapers.

Without Blondie, your newspaper sucks.

I was proud of myself, I only lost my cool once all week when talking to dozens of 70somethings who find some sort of strange comfort in the familiarity of Blondie. An old guy was berating me for adding “new comics I’ve never heard of before,” when he mentioned one of them in particular and how old the comic’s joke was that day. “I’ve seen that joke a million times!” he said. “It’s not funny anymore.”

I couldn’t help myself. Before I knew what I was saying, I replied “Yes, whereas Dagwood making and eating a very large sandwich, why, that never gets old.”

It’s been an exhausting week.

I’m happy to say that the publisher was so moved by the dozens upon dozens of nasty phone calls we received, that she made me squeeze six new (old) comics back on my pages.

So Blondie is back, making supper for her dolt of a husband, just as she’s been doing for 50 zillion years. And do you think I received ONE phone call to say thanks?

Of course not.

3 comments:

Kim said...

(sigh)
I miss Bloom County...

Heather said...

Robyn- Like I said before, the paper looks awesome. And ... I couldn't help myself. I had to make some blog posts. Not sure if you can guess which ones are mine.

Brian said...

You didn't move the bridge column, did you? There will be hell to pay if you did.

And the jumble??? Don't screw with the jumble!!