October 21, 2021

The news is still there, and easier to find than ever

News is a lot like politics. It’s all local, it’s just that some news is more local than others.

You probably care more about Jensen Schack and his trial on charges of threatening Cortland High School than you do the third day of Sen. John McCain’s funeral coverage. That’s the governing principle behind a reconfiguration of the Cortland Standard.

We know you’re reading us because we offer local news, more than any other news outlet. We know you can get state, national and world news from a zillion different sources. So we’re going to make it easier to find what you’re looking for each day.

While we were at it, we tweaked our design a little to be a bit more modern and easier to browse, and to maximize space for news.

It began Saturday, and will continue. Instead of making our front page primarily nation and world news, with a little bit of a local presence, we’ll reverse the priority. You’ll find all the strongest local stories on page 1, with the best of the wire services stories.

It may seem like a minor shift — and to a degree it is — but it’s part of a complete reorganization of how you read the Cortland Standard that we’ve been planning for nearly 18 months. Here’s a summary of what you’ll see:

• Local news owns Page 1: Local news used to reside primarily on pages 3 and 4. Instead, it will move to page 1, and will be supplemented by other stories on page 3.

• Celebrate! comes on Saturdays: We started a third weekly section in Saturday’s edition: Celebrate! It’s filled with information on all the stuff that makes the greater Cortland area funky and fun and unique — and a place worth living. As part of that, our celebration-like features will appear there every Saturday: weddings and anniversaries, notes about how the kids are doing at college and those tidbits about the neighbors.

• Weather moves to Page 2: I’ll be honest, I never understood weather page fans. But they’re loyal and they love their almanac data. By moving it to page 2, they can get to it faster, right as they open the paper.

• Comics and entertainment packaged together: As a kid, the comics page was the first thing I would read. (Actually, it’s still the first thing I read.) As an adult, it always seems jarring when the comics are packaged with hard news: train wrecks, hurricanes, revolutions — things essential to know, but not fun. So we’ll package the comics with our other entertainment features: the horoscopes, crossword puzzles and other games that lighten your day.

• Contract Bridge moves: To make all the games fit on one page, something had to go elsewhere. We chose the Contract Bridge feature. You’ll find it daily in our classified advertising section.

• Find Ask Amy on the Living page: Amy Dickinson gives good advice about living, and it seems to us that’s good material for our Living page. So you’ll find her there every day.

• We end the TV listings: This was a hard decision, but the reality is this: The number of TV channels and programs has become so long and complex and varying by community that our daily TV listings aren’t very useful. In fact, they’re not useful at all.

If you have cable, your cable provider gives you a more complete, easy to use listing as part of your package. If you use a dish, your provider tells you what you can access. If you watch programs over the air, you get different stations depending on where in the greater Cortland area you live. And if you’re like a growing number of people and you’ve cut the cord, none of those listings are helpful to you at all. We just don’t see the TV guide as a productive use of our space.

Some of the behind-the-scenes changes make the newspaper a bit more efficient to produce, and while you may not see it, that’s important, too. The more efficient we are, the more we can give you for your money. It’s as simple as that.

So give the paper another look. We haven’t eliminated anything, except the TV listings; we’ve just put it somewhere else. We hope you’ll agree that it’ll make your task of getting the news you want a little easier.