Third Monthly Milestone Message

Chronicle marks three months of publication

Today marks the third month of publication of The Ann Arbor Chronicle. As we have on the previous monthly milestones, we take this opportunity to touch base directly with readers.

We’ve made a couple of minor changes to the layout. The left sidebar is now a bit cleaner, partly because we’ve consolidated some material into the top shaded box.

In response to reader suggestions, we’ve also made the the link to the Tip Jar as prominent as we know how. It’s sitting in the masthead where the news stand price is typically displayed for a printed publication (upper right).

Also based partly on reader input, the frame for the advertisements now contains a link (at the bottom) to a listing of all advertisers. For readers who would like to know who’s supporting The Chronicle financially, this is somewhat more efficient (if less entertaining) than repeatedly hitting the refresh button on a web browser and watching the ads cycle through on their random rotation.

Apropos of advertising, we’ve got a ways to go before advertising revenue will be sufficient to start growing resources so that we can include broader coverage. But we’re emboldened enough by the response so far among readers and advertisers that we’re beginning to contemplate growth in more specific terms.

Broader coverage will mean different things to different people. We could approach it (i) academically: what else should a local paper include? (ii) with focus-groups: what else do people want to read? (iii) by writer interest: what do contributers want to write about?

Any sensible approach to expanded coverage will likely include aspects of all three. But a starting point is to make clear to ourselves what it is we’re doing with our current resources. The disappearance of the section headings from the left sidebar wasn’t just part of a clear-out-the-clutter campaign. (They’re in the footer for readers who did enjoy navigating with them.) We downplayed that taxonomy, because it was apparent to us – and to readers – that those sections don’t reflect very well what we’re doing.

To regular readers, it will be apparent that part of what we do is attend public meetings and report out from them in a fair amount of detail. In that light it would probably make sense to declare Meeting Watch as a section, with subsections for each of the various bodies whose meetings we report: city council, county commission, DDA board, etc.

For one thing, that would free us up to write more interesting headlines than “Meeting Watch: City Council.” Because frankly, these public meetings deserve more interesting headlines than that and probably greater reader interest as well. We don’t report on them just because they’re important, but rather because they’re a window onto our community that is much broader than just the people at the meeting.

But the idea of a Meeting Watch section is just one thought, pretty much off the top of my louse-free head. And what we do already is way more than just attend public meetings. In thinking about expanded coverage, it’s surely a useful tool to think about the section taxonomy. But I also think it’s a more complex issue than: What should the names of the sections really be?

As always, we take readers’ thoughts seriously and would welcome your thoughts on this or other topics, either in the comments section or via private communication.

Thanks for reading.


  1. December 2, 2008 at 5:55 am | permalink

    Congratulations on your third month! I enjoy the daily news and info about “goings on” in Ann Arbor. My only comment is that there are so few opportunities for commenting on many of the posts – you could start some interesting “conversations” in the comment sections of some of the posts, were the comments to be turned on for every post.

  2. By Leah Gunn
    December 2, 2008 at 7:00 am | permalink

    Congratulations on fine coverage of important events and also some interesting and whimsical stuff. I remember head lice when my kids were in school – luckily the didn’t get it, but many others did! Brought back memories.

    Tip Jar – in order to see it, I have to shift away from the content towards the right where the ads are. I suggest you move it more to the center and use some graphics to highlight it.


    I LOVE this newspaper!

  3. December 2, 2008 at 9:28 am | permalink

    Congrats, guys!

    The only thing I’d want more of is analysis, because I know you’re good at it!

  4. December 2, 2008 at 9:51 am | permalink

    I agree with Salinevance: turn on comments for ever post. You never know what will spark an interesting discussion.

  5. December 2, 2008 at 1:57 pm | permalink

    Since one was just posted, I wanted to come back to this article and thank you for the way you make corrections. In addition to correcting the article in question, you announce the correction as it’s own post, ensuring that those of us who do most of our reading via your RSS feed still get the correction.

  6. December 2, 2008 at 2:04 pm | permalink

    OK – see the great discussion here? That’s why there should be comments on every post. This is what community is about!

  7. December 2, 2008 at 10:23 pm | permalink

    i have had such a great time reading the chronicle (and advertising in it!) thanks for creating and maintaining such a lovely place for me to click into the ann arbor community.

  8. December 3, 2008 at 8:30 am | permalink

    Happy third mensiversary!

  9. December 3, 2008 at 9:19 am | permalink

    The Chronicle covers a lot of public meetings and events. What about some kind of calendar, which could link to both advance coverage of upcoming events and after-the-fact coverage?

  10. By Suzie
    December 5, 2008 at 3:35 pm | permalink

    Friendly suggestion – the “Tip Jar”, while it looks cool like a mast-head, now that you told me what it was, does not look like a button that I can click on to donate. From everything I’ve read, to be effective, you may want something button-like and larger. And perhaps red.