As noted in this October 1 More Messages blog, the Denver Post's redesign, which was unveiled along with the Sunday, September 30, issue, didn't make much of a first impression, in part because the changes were comparatively minor and subtle. But the October 5 paper features quite a noticeable alteration. In recent years, the Post has delivered two entertainment sections on Fridays, with one devoted mainly to movies (with some television thrown in for good measure) and the other encompassing the rest of the arts. Now, however, everything's back under a single cover.
Conceptually speaking, the all-in-one approach is a smart one. The old cinema-and-TV section often seemed quite thin, with little beyond reviews of new releases and the occasional syndicated piece to pad it out. Combining things makes the entertainment offerings as a whole seem more substantial. However, the initial effort is a bit organizationally confused. For instance, a film review (of Into the Wild) appears on the cover, with other big-screen subjects turning up regularly throughout the first half-dozen pages -- yet page 7 is bannered "Movies." Eh? Likewise, the music, theater, food and comedy pieces that follow are scattered about in a confusing manner that isn't aided much by another banner, labeled "This Week." For these reasons, the section feels more random than logical.
Fortunately, such issues can be sorted out, especially if the Post continues to devote a decent percentage of its resources in this area. The Rocky Mountain News' Friday entertainment insert has been severely diminished by the departure of assorted staffers via buyouts, etc. As a result, the Post has a real opportunity to assert a competitive advantage of the sort that still appears to matter to employees and managers years after the installation of the dailies' joint-operating agreement. If supervisors at the broadsheet follow through, it will be as good for readers as it will be for the paper itself. -- Michael Roberts
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