Lean Times

During that same Q&A last May, one of the semi-regular “Throw Things at Bill” sessions, Mr. Keller mentioned other design changes, including a “facelift” for the front page. He also said there were internal efforts underway to minimize the number of stories jumping from A1 into other sections of the paper, instead opting to find jump-space for them right there in the A section.

Regarding the “facelift,” Mr. Bodkin said that will definitely not be happening on Monday, but that there will be design changes in the future. Unlike the Journal, the Times will be evolving design-wise, he said.

As for the issue of jumps, Mr. Bodkin said that “in a sense we’ve already started doing that.” He added: “A business story that might have jumped to business is now jumping into the national report.”

Indeed, throughout the Dow Jones saga these past three months, several news stories jumped from A1 to the back of the front section, rather than BizDay.

Another example: this past Wednesday’s front page story on whether Mayor Bloomberg qualifies as a serious straphanger, since he takes an S.U.V. ride to the express stop—ordinarily Metro Section material—jumped from A1 to A15. (Michael Grynbaum’s follow-up on Thursday was placed on the front of Metro).

"Eliminating the jump is an evolutionary thing,” Mr. Bodkin said. “It’s a day to day thing.”

On the other hand: “We have not done things like this on purpose, as a concerted systematic effort,” said Terry Schwadron, information and technology editor, on the question of story jumps.

 

But where both Mr. Bodkin and Mr. Schwadron agree is that Monday’s format change has required the most sustained effort on the production side, rather than asking as much from beat reporters.

“From a production standpoint, it’s a cumbersome change,” Mr. Bodkin said.

"The Times is moving from a 54 inch to a 48 inch web. Mr. Bodkin said that in recent years several papers moved from a 54 inch web to 50 inches, before making the jump to 48: the Times is making a “two step leap,” he said. “It’s pretty much becoming the standard,” Mr. Bodkin said, mentioning the Journal, Washington Post, and Los Angeles Times.

 

One difference with the Journal is length, though. Whereas the Journal is 22.75 inches, the Times will remain at 22 inches, according to Thomas Lombardo, Vice President of Production.

 

 

Mr. Schwadron said that in order to print Monday’s paper, “a great deal of work has been done internally.” He added: “At the press sites, at the actual production plants, in order to use smaller paper, it has to be positioned in a new way.”

But downplaying the smaller size, again, Mr. Schwadron said that the new format is nothing compared to the historic shift from black & white to color.

Now that was a change that was noticeable,” he said.