Monday coverage changing form soon

Published May 27, 2007

We are restructuring our presentation of local news on Mondays, starting June 4. Please let me tell you about it.

We will make this change on Mondays only. The section you are holding will be merged with Section B.

Don't worry. The coverage important to you still will be in your Monday Times. It simply is moving to a new section called MondayMetro.

MondayMetro will be your local news section on Mondays. It also will have news from around Pinellas and Tampa Bay.

But this change is far more than merger. MondayMetro will be a fully revamped news section, with fresh material, a dramatic look, an urgency and a utility we believe you will appreciate.

We won't stray from our core responsibility of presenting a serious local news section. MondayMetro will have the breaking news you expect - reported from your community, the bay area and Florida.

It also will continue the informed storytelling we regard as a hallmark of the Times.

And we have no plans to stop publishing the Clearwater Times the other six days of the week.

I'll explain our reasons for making this change on Mondays.

We see Mondays as unique. We have determined we can do the job you expect on Mondays with one combined local news section, rather than two.

On other days, the volume of news is such that we can best serve you with a Clearwater Times, which focuses on Clearwater, Dunedin and Safety Harbor, and a Local&State section for Tampa Bay area and statewide coverage.

Not so on Sundays, which seldom are heavy news days. We supplement the breaking work on Mondays with enterprise stories, features, issue pieces and trend stories reported, written and photographed the prior week.

By combing the two sections on Mondays we create efficiencies. We also can realign staff so we can spend more time on rigorous journalism.

Such realignments are important in the current era, as the Times, like other media companies, strides into a changing and challenging future.

We commissioned extensive research in reviewing our Monday model. Readers told us we could meet their news needs with one local section on Mondays.

Advertisers also indicated they could reach their target markets either by moving their messages to another day or by placing it in another part of Monday's Times. For example, the advertising feature Monday Marketplace, which has appeared in this section, will move to Tuesdays on June 5 and be called simply, The Marketplace.

So, this change is strategic. It also is exciting.

MondayMetro will have smart content suited to Mondays that you won't find on other days.

It will give you information you can use in launching new weeks. And it will have the local and area-wide news you want and need.

It will keep you in the know. It also will respect your time.

MondayMetro is a fresh mix that we created with you readers in mind.

Later this week, I will tell you more of what to expect from MondayMetro.