Observer set for a new beginning with more for you
A message from editor Allen Winter
CHANGE seems to be an inevitable thing in our busy lives these days.
And there's nothing surer that change in the news industry has been an ongoing part of life for some years now.
It's time again for us to take another hard, long look at The Observer, to see what's working and what's not, and to bring you the best possible newspaper we can.
In an effort to do that we've been listening over the years as you, our readers, tell us what you'd like to see in your local daily read over a cup of coffee.
As from next week you will find that we have made a number of changes that we believe will enhance your reading experience and bring our community closer.
Local, local, local is our motto and we've got no intention of changing that, because we believe, and our discussions with you have shown, that you buy your daily Observer to find out what's happening in your community.
You will find new sections and a new focus on local people, and we'll bring it to you in a way that you will find easy to digest.
That doesn't mean we're going to dumb things down, but it's more of making sure our stories reflect what they mean to you.
Due to increased costs associated with production and distribution, the price of Monday to Friday editions of The Observer will be increased to $1.20 from Monday.
The price for those readers subscribing to home delivery will remain at $1.10 (plus delivery fee) and the Saturday Weekend Observer price will remain at $1.50.
This is the first cover price rise of The Observer since June 2011.
SO, what have we done?
We've made it easier for you to navigate through the pages of your Observer.
Instead of having local news up front, then a few more pages further back, we have brought all of the local news pages to the front, and they will be followed by the popular Opinion, Milestones, Time Out, world and nation pages.
A new feature in your Observer will be a regular daily section Our Gladstone, which will feature fascinating stories about local people, about the lives they lead and what keeps them going.
The Milestones page will have a revamp, with more attention given to the special occasions in our lives.
We'll be telling you more about the special day, more about the relationships, and we'll be making more space to tell that special story by doing away with the Then and Now photographs, which have not been popular with readers.
An all-new eight-page liftout sports feature in the centre of the newspaper will cover the games of the weekend and include match reports, analysis, commentary, armchair critics, top-five scores and top accomplishments of the weekend.
We'll also be including the national and international sports with one dedicated page, a local wrap of as many sports fixtures as we can, and a gallery of the best photos of the weekend.
We will move the Web World, Games and Gadgets pages from Monday and place them in the Weekend section on a Saturday to give readers a chance of a good read when you have more time.
We will bring to you an expanded Newspapers in Education section, incorporating school news and photos, a "meet the principal" feature and we'll have our Kids of Spirit page included in the section.
Our regular and immensely popular Community Chest page will incorporate a photo and story of a different community group each week.
This will give readers and understanding of the various groups - and it could help recruit new group members as well.
We'll be asking you your opinion each week about a specific issue - and we'll outline the issue in a special two-page feature.
We'll have our reporters out with their cameras and notebooks collecting as many opinions as possible each week.
We are planning two special features in Thursday's Observer: If I Was the Mayor, where you tell us what you would do if you were elected mayor of our region, what you'd change and what you'd create; and My House, My Castle, a weekly feature about a special home, why the owner enjoys it so much and what it means.
Again a new feature for your entertainment, Sobserver.
Each Friday we'll take a light-hearted and satirical look at happenings over the past week.
We'll also be moving the popular Me and My Ride page from Saturday to Friday to make way for some exciting inclusions in the Weekend and Motoring sections.
A Moment in Time is the name of another new feature, where our reporter and photographer will head to an event or place and find out just what it's all about.
There will also be Your Week Ahead, a feature where we'll tell you the stories we're working on for the coming week.
Plus in the Weekend section find new columnists, Web World and Gadgets, features and lots of fun reads.
The changes will take place from Wednesday, June 11.
THE pace of change is rapid - you only need to take a walk down Goondoon St or look out across the harbour at Curtis Island.
The region is moving forward right in front of our very eyes, and with this rapid change comes new experiences, challenges and opportunities.
In the 6½ years we've called Gladstone home, my family and I have had many great experiences, been granted our own opportunities, met fantastic people and watched the region embrace new people of all walks of life.
At the heart of everything we've experienced has been the community.
This community is unique - it is welcoming, it is generous, it's compassionate, it is respectful, it is multicultural.
Your newspaper, The Observer, has a long and proud history of building solid community connections and being there as an advocate for the community - we are a part of this community.
As a media outlet and publisher, the pace of change has also been rapid - in 2014, we celebrate 10 years of having a Monday edition and we are much more than a daily newspaper these days.
Our team of professionals produces news content for the newspaper, website and social media platforms - our total audience continues to grow.
The news of today is mobile and can be consumed in many different ways. That said, our core focus will always be local news.
Every day we start with a blank canvas and look to cover the issues that matter to you. We shed light on the issues, analyse and present both sides.
We get behind great causes, we support community members in need, we assist in raising awareness and we promote many community events.
That's what a good corporate citizen does.
We are very proud of the role we are play - and we're proud to bring you your daily fix of news, sport and information that is engaging, controversial and at times humorous.
As the leader of the business, I'm really excited about some of the changes we're making to The Observer - particularly around Sports Monday and weekly Sobserver content!
I'm proud to lead our team in the community and through the good times and the tough times, we'll be there - We've Got You Covered.