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New Year, New Approach

By John Fox · January 2nd, 2008 · Editorial

Note: Much of this column discusses changes in the print edition of CityBeat, but some of these changes can be found online as well. See links in this column to find new the content.

A new year, a new approach, a new attitude. That's what Jan. 1 normally offers.

I always think about resolutions and changes this time of year, though I rarely follow through. Maybe it's the letdown from the holiday build-up, maybe it's the couple of long, gray, cold months straight ahead -- but it's usually difficult to manufacture the motivation I need.

Still, Jan. 1 can be a powerful symbol. My appointment book is mostly blank, "2008" sounds strange and fresh, I have new clothes to wear and the opportunity of new routines and new approaches remains in the air.

More than any other day on the calendar, even our birthdays, Jan. 1 draws a line in our lives. It divides old from new, reality from possibility, yesterday from tomorrow.

Tomorrow starts today for CityBeat, as the new year brings a new approach for us, too. I hope you'll notice the changes as you read this week's issue.

It's nothing radical -- not a redesign or re-engineering, but a refreshment. And a refocus on what we believe our core strengths to be.

A key aspect of CityBeat that sets us apart from other media in town is our focus on critical thinking and writing. We're the only Cincinnati media outlet to feature locally written opinion columns on politics, music, live theater, visual art, restaurants and movies.

We consistently get feedback from readers telling us that they enjoy CityBeat for making value judgments, for telling it like it is and for not being afraid to have an opinion.

Up until now, these opinions were almost always tucked inside each section in the paper. We didn't really notice it until we embarked on a "refreshment" process this fall and discovered that perhaps we'd been sort of hiding Spill It, Porkopolis, Curtain Call, The Big Picture, Sports and other columns.

OK, maybe not "hiding," but we certainly didn't make them the cornerstone of each section. Until now.

Starting with this issue and this page, our opinion columns come front and center. Each section will lead off with a feature article and a column: my editorials in Voices; Porkopolis in News; Spill It in Music; a rotation of The Big Picture and Curtain Call in Arts; a rotation of The Dish, Nosh Pit and Fermentations in Diner; and reviews of opening movies in Film.

They'll be easier to find and, because of their prominent positions, hopefully will reinforce CityBeat's commitment to lively, engaging writing and strong opinions.

This design detail isn't the only new approach we've begun with this issue -- you'll find plenty if you pay attention. The easiest change to note is just to the right, as we welcome columnist Joe Wessels onboard to share this Voices page with me each week as well as Danny Cross' new Worst Week Ever! column.

Change is the only constant in the media world, and Jan. 1 is a good a reminder to keep looking toward tomorrow.

CONTACT JOHN FOX: jfox@citybeat.com



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