Larry Platt: WE JUST GOT BETTER

Posted: July 25, 2011

THIS IS NOT A newspaper. In fact, what you're holding in your hands refuses to be just a newspaper. Over the past six months, as we've reimagined what the Daily News ought to be, I kept reminding myself that how we deliver what we say has vastly changed these last years, and that too few media outlets really make the effort to engage you in the ways that you actually consume media. The relationship between newspaper and reader can no longer be a one-way lecture; it's now a conversation.

So here it is, the daily conversation of Philadelphia. These pages teem with our activist reporting, provocative commentary, and stunning photography - and with you. Throughout, you will see your voices from Facebook, Twitter and Philly.com. Six months ago, I changed our tag line from the People Paper to the People's Paper with the pledge that we no longer would just speak at you. And there's more to come: In coming weeks, we will debut a new interactive Page 2, in which your voice will hold forth on the issues of the day, every day.

Thanks to Tim Baldwin and John Goryl of Philly-based B&G Design Studios, we're louder, with bigger photos and headlines, yet easier to navigate than ever before. Our design is classic tabloid - but with a modern twist.

But the new Daily News is not just about a new look. Our transformation is as much philosophical as aesthetic. That's why I'm proud to announce a host of new voices and features. Our focus is going to be excessively local, and centered on our guiding holy trinity: People, Power and Gossip.

You will notice a revamped features section that is an authoritative guide to how to navigate the city, beginning with today's "Agenda" - our weekly to-do picks - and the debut of Jenice Armstrong's interviews with people you might not know but should. Features also includes a prominent two-page spread of gossip, both national and local. Among the section's new voices will be writer Lauren McCutcheon, the former lifestyle editor at Philadelphia magazine, who returns to these pages, where she penned pieces from 2002 to 2004. She has a unique perspective on this fascinating, maddening town, and her job is to capture its zeitgeist in print.

On Friday, we'll debut Street Gazing, contributor Reuben Harley's new on-the-street photographic take on Philly's burgeoning style scene. "Big Rube" is an iconic Philadelphian; you'll remember him as the impresario who, along with Mitchell & Ness, unleashed the throwback-jersey fashion craze on the rest of the country. Now he's like a hip-hop Bill Cunningham, the venerated New York Times street-style photographer.

Beginning next week, we will debut the food-and-drink writings of another award-winning contributor, Jason Wilson. Jason, a local guy who writes about drink culture for the Washington Post and is the author of the memoir Boozehound (Is that a Daily News fit, or what?), won't be reviewing restaurants, per se. He will, instead, write about food as it is actually eaten here - rather than how food snobs tell us it ought to be. Our food coverage will spotlight the neighborhood hangouts, the ethnic joints, the food carts, and the shrines to regional staples that make this an increasingly interesting town. It will be for those who are fascinated by the quirky personalities behind Philly's food scene - but who don't need to see a birth certificate for every piece of broccoli they eat.

In matters more civic, newly minted senior writer Chris Brennan and Dave Gambacorta will team up as our new writers on the "Power Beat." They are charged with chronicling how things do (or, more often, don't) get done in this insular town, and they'll be defining power broadly: It's politics, business, philanthropy, law and, yes, media. Through deep reporting and strong point of view, they will bring to life on the page those who get things done here - and those who keep things from getting done.

On the editorial-board pages - now called Daily Views - there will be similar changes. We want to give voice to those who feel that their invitation to participate in the life of their city got lost in the mail. So please team up with us and get involved with the People's Editorial Board. For more information on how we can help you change things for the better by exercising your vocal cords, check out Page 19. In the last few months, after all, we've campaigned for justice in the case of a teacher who dared to criticize Arlene Ackerman, and we've taken on the embarrassment that is the Parking Authority and the travesty that is DROP. Now we want your voice alongside ours.

The things we all love about the Daily News are still here. There's still the best sports section in America, Ronnie Polaneczky standing up for readers, Hall-of-Famer Bill Conlin's knowing wisdom and Dan Gross' whispers about the Philly Phamous. But we've added new voices, a new look, new energy and more of you. We're going to be the journalistic equivalent of Glenn Close in "Fatal Attraction": We Will Not Be Ignored. We'll tell the soap-opera-like narrative of Philadelphia, calling out our story's villains and praising its heroes. We'll take the plight of the voiceless seriously, but we won't take ourselves too seriously. And we'll never forget that this is a public trust and that we really work for you. Let me know what you think of the new Daily News at lplatt@phillynews.com.

comments powered by Disqus
|
|
|
|
|