What Have We Done with Music Notes?
Gene Young wasn’t the only reader frustrated over the last two weeks by Music Notes absence from Bay Weekly’s print edition. What have you done with it? has been the most frequent question we heard on the phone last week. Staffers have been buttonholed by complaining friends and neighbors.
As I told Mr. Young, we’re glad you noticed.
Where it’s gone is to our online edition. You find it by clicking first on the Calendar drop menu, then on music calendar.
Why have we hidden an apparently well-used feature?
We’re working out the puzzle of how to fit too many good things into the finite space of each week’s issue.
The grid of Bay Weekly’s puzzle, in the recessionary economy of pre-election 2008, is 32 pages. In every newspaper, the average is about half ads. Those pay for the whole paper not just the newsprint, but also everything it takes to make a paper, from salaries to time on the printing presses.
In those pages, we want to squeeze all the information and entertainment we can fit plus more.
In the front or editorial half of the paper, that’s two, three or four stories, plus this page and a handful of columns: Bill Burton, the Bay Gardener, the Sporting Life, Sky Watch, Earth Talk and one of four monthly columnists.
The back or entertainment half of the paper is dominated by calendar, which runs to seven pages and would love to spill over into more. Diana Beechener, our 8 Days a Week calendar editor, and Erin Sakalas, our Music Notes editor, are driven. Both want to bring you the best calendar in Chesapeake Country.
As well as calendar, the back half of Bay Weekly brings you News of the Weird, Free Will Astrology, two puzzles, movie reviews and many weeks a review of local theater, music, art or books.
When it doesn’t all fit, what should we do?
First, we trim, just like we do with stories. That means eliminating extra words. It’s also, over the last two weeks, meant dropping street addresses out of 8 Days a Week calendar listings. We hated to do it, but the alternative was cutting events. We still list phone numbers and often web sites, but if you’re like me, you’d better check your map before you head out. The rest of you can rely on memory or GPS.
When such cuts are not enough, the question becomes, What do we think our readers want most?
That’s what we’re asking.
- While we await your answers, you’ll find Music Notes in our online edition.