Blog

Oct. 31st Monitoring Change in Texas

Email or Print this article.

It’s easy to tell why The Monitor is one of the most successful newspapers in America.

From their state of the art new presses, to the ambitious leadership and devoted newsroom staff, everything about the way this south Texas daily serves their community seems right. But perhaps the most impressive and telling key to their success is their unwavering commitment to giving their readers exactly what they want.

It was with this baseline of thinking that the Monitor commissioned Garcia Media first to evaluate their product, then to give them guidance as they undertook the effort to create a product that would offer more relevance and value to their readers. From the very beginning, it was clear that the plans in McAllen were not about personal agendas or industry accolades. They simply wanted to update and improve their newspaper to satisfy the evolving demands of its readers.

image

The McAllen, Mission, Edinburg, Pharr metropolitan area is one of the five fastest growing areas of the United States. The population of McAllen, alone, grew by just over 48 percent between 1990 and 2000 and is expected to have grown by a nearly similar percentage between by the 2010 Census. The population of Hidalgo County, which constitutes the paper’s primary circulation area, is 85 to 87 percent Hispanic, a demographic directly reflected in the newspapers subscriber base. Because of this, when putting the paper together each day the editors and staff pay close attention to stories that are “of particular interest” to Hispanic reade. The Latin influence is also evident in the colors and the energy of the community.

The first evaluation of the newspaper revealed a product rich in content, but lacking in some of the tools to help today’s hurried readers get their information better and faster. The navigation of the paper needed to be improved. Integrated editing techniques need to be introduced to layer stories and bring out their relevance. And to make all of this happen, processes would have to change, there would have to be better planning and stories would have to be thought out more.


This wasn’t simply an exercise in changing typography or picking colors, although that was part of it. The navigation that was added to the front page now gives readers an opportunity to see what else that day’s paper has to offer. Sidebars were introduced to enhance stories and to communicate their relevance faster. Refers to the web were worked in to create truly multimedia experience where readers can read the story in print and “do” more with it online. Finally, the content strategy changed to consider the evolving new media audience that they have known so well. Front page decisions are not based on what “belongs there,” but simply what are the most interesting and relevant stories that day, and what are people talking about. The result is an exciting mix of local news and sports, entertainment, reader submitted stories and photos, and a newspaper that’s all about “you.

It’s a testament to the publisher, Olaf Frandsen, Steve Fagan, editor and Marcia Caltabiano, managing editor, whose leadership and vision kept the newsroom excited and positive about the changes that were forthcoming . This was a newsroom with no egos and no drama, just a desire to tell better stories. The mantra in the budget meetings became “why should our readers care about this story?” Extra effort was put into every story pitched to make sure it answered this very simple, but important question. And a staff, made up of experienced journalists and recent college-grads continue to work together daily to ensure that every story meets this criteria.

Has it been easy? Not at all. Everyone has had to work harder and longer. But the spirit and desire to do better work is there, as is the realization that good storytelling is a process that takes time and effort. This effort is already clear in the story selections, the packaging and ultimately in the overwhelming positive reactions from the only audience that matters to them, theirs.

Posted by Mario Garcia, Jr. on October 31, 2007




comments powered by Disqus


A little off topic here but I the whole Census thing reminded me of when I came across a cool site that uses Census data to create your own chart base on population and housing stats. I think people would enjoy it.
 http://www.zipcodesandmore.com/charts.aspx

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  05/02  at  12:08 PM

I Love Texas smile


Oyun

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  06/25  at  5:17 PM

The passive tracking plots proved to be an uncomplicated, easily applied means to gather data for assessing and comparing swine abundance and distribution.
link building prices

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  07/01  at  5:20 AM

The same track data coupled with plot locations to numerically describe the spatial pattern of swine activity gave an index of pervasiveness, and a simple rate of interception of damage sites to index damage was used.
link building prices

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  07/01  at  5:22 AM

It’s great to see legendary newspapers do well in the digital age. rome lodgings

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  07/09  at  3:11 AM

that was a great post !!

Hydrogen Cars

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  07/14  at  6:32 AM

that was a great post

KPLI

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  07/19  at  7:49 PM

thanks

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  07/20  at  12:16 AM

Sickest Sites

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  07/20  at  12:19 AM

that was interesting

ab exercise equipment

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  07/20  at  12:55 PM

thanks

Rabbit Vibrators

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  07/23  at  10:17 AM

Texas-Junkyards.com was created and launched to help you find a replacement or hard to find part from a dealer near you. No need to call junk yard after junk yard. You can simply search here for either one in your area or just submit a part request and sit back and let our vendors contact you via phone or eMail
Texas Junk Yards currently has more than 250 vendors listed with complete contact information including street address, phone number and zip code.

Junk Yards in Texas handle just about every part you can think of. Whether its a used engine or transmission, headlight, taillight, side view mirror or simply some friendly advise on how to install a part or perform a simple repair we have people that can help. Simply submit a part request here or search for a dealer near you.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  07/24  at  1:06 AM

There will be increased monitoring of all zones. There will be checkpoints with police [and] Queensland Transport staff monitoring compliance in these zones.
auto glass repair

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  08/15  at  10:39 AM
Commenting is not available in this channel entry.

contact us



latest entries

about the author

Mario Garcia, Jr.

Mario Garcia, Jr.


Where's Mario? (January 5–31)

Mario's speaking engagements (January 2014)

Mario's latest book: iPad Design Lab

Mario at Columbia Journalism School

Teaching three continuing education courses at Columbia

Take advantage of our iPad Design/Ad Lab workshops

Mario Garcia Jr. is a news designer with more than 15 years experience in helping newspapers, magazines, and web sites package and present news and information more effectively. Mario is a frequent lecturer on the topic of multimedia storytelling and an adjunct faculty member at the University of South Florida where he teaches journalism.

about the blog

A blog about storytelling, design, the projects we work on, the things we learn along the way. View all blog entries »

RSS Feed

Get updates delivered to your newsreader (RSS 2.0)