Karen Peterson

Karen Peterson: Newsroom elves fill reader stockings

Santa’s newsroom elves have been busy in recent weeks creating new features and products for readers.

Many readers have noticed changes in our weather package, which runs every day on the back of the Sports section.

We were pressed to change from one weather vendor to another, but before doing so, managing editor Dale Phelps sought input from you, our readers.

We can never be sure how many people read the weather page, especially nowadays when so many turn to their computers or smartphones for a daily forecast.

But we get enough calls from readers when they spot an error on the page to know it’s important to a segment of our readership.

Those who read it daily know what they want. A dozen or so readers agreed to help Phelps redesign the package.

Their overwhelming request was that we replace the local South Sound map with a map showing temperatures and conditions across the state. After all, the forecast for Lakewood doesn’t vary much from the forecast for Steilacoom.

But someone driving over the mountains today might want to see what temps will be like in Ellensburg or Wenatchee or Spokane. (We’ve kept a list of local temps for those who still prefer it the old way.)

Our five-day forecast is now bigger and easier to read. We’ve kept the tide and mountain pass information. And we’ve kept the national map, along with forecasts for cities around the nation and world. Many people like to see what the weather is like in places where loved ones live or in places they plan to visit.

Reader reaction to the changes has been mostly positive.

“The new weather forecast map of the state looks GREAT!!” wrote a Tacoma reader.

“I noticed that the weather page in today’s paper has changed,” wrote a reader from University Place. “It is a big improvement. Nice colors and easy to read.”

To make room for the state map, we pared the list of cities a bit. If you’d like to add a city, contact Phelps at dale.phelps@thenewstribune.com. If he gets enough requests for a given city, we may be able to add it.

SUNDAY COMICS ADDED TO THE DIGITAL E-EDITION

Those who read the Sunday News Tribune replica or “eEdition” might have noticed an addition a few weeks ago — it now includes our four-page Sunday comics section.

Most people read the replica edition from their iPad or other digital tablet. Several readers had asked that we include the Sunday comics section that appears in our printed paper.

The process was complicated because we don’t print the comics section in-house. We select the comics and hire a vendor who assembles the comics on pages. The vendor sends the pages to an off-site printer. The printer ships the sections to us, and we insert them into the paper.

We now have the printer send digital comics pages to the company that processes our replica edition, so they appear alongside the news sections.

TNT CALENDAR COMING

Subscribers will want to be careful opening their Thursday paper. Inside it, you’ll find our annual News Tribune photo calendar. It has quickly become a reader favorite.

The calendar is made up of photos taken in the past year by our talented group of staff photographers. Some photos depict news events. Some mark community celebrations. Many are simply pretty pictures of the places we live.

We’ve improved the paper this year. The heavier, glossier stock makes for a sturdier calendar you’ll want to hang in your kitchen or office.

If you’d like to buy additional calendars (think stocking stuffers), we’ll be selling them for $5 at the TNT front desk.

WE NEED YOUR HELP

Two traditional end-of-the-year projects require help from our readers.

The first is the annual series of stories we call: “Where are they now?” Reporters and editors have made a list of newsmakers from throughout the year we’ll try to catch up with.

Alexis Krell, for instance, wrote this year about changes in the state’s release of adoptee birth certificates. Her story introduced adoptees who planned to search for their birth parents. Krell plans to go back and ask about their reunions.

If you have a newsmaker you’d like us to revisit, send an email to newstips@thenewstribune.com. Or leave a message on our tip line: 253-597-8688.

We’re also busy compiling a list of the big stories from 2014. As soon as it’s completed, we’ll post it online and let you vote on which were the biggest local news stories of the year. We’ll run the list in the paper at the end of the year.

Thanks in advance for your help.

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