Readers Pan Another Post Format Change

Earlier yesterday, Deborah E. Heard, assistant managing editor of the Post’s Style section, fielded questions on the decision to combine the Arts and Style sections. Let’s just say that the vast majority weren’t a fan of the new section.

Some excerpts:

    20005: I am a daily subscriber to The Post. I don’t like the combination of the arts and style sections. But The Post doesn’t seem to care much about the subscribers’ opinions from my view point. Such as when comic strips are added and deleted, format of crosswords change, etc. You always do what you want anyway. Why ask us? Will it change anything? No. Maybe when you don’t have any subscribers — you will take notice.

    Deborah E. Heard: Yikes. I’m here answering questions because I do care what readers think. And over the past few months, I’ve collected lots of feedback from readers about the section and then incorporated some of those responses into my decision-making. The reality is that people disagree and it’s impossible to give every individual what he or she wants. So I listen a lot and think a lot and make what I believe are smart choices. Of course, if I”m wrong, then I can make new decisions.

    Reston, Va.: Why the change? I was disappointed that you dropped the Haiku feature and thought some of the other changes were rather pedestrian. Sorry, it just didn’t come across to me as hipper, more personalized, better stories. . . sorry. I love reading The Post each day but find myself more and more involved with news online.

    Deborah E. Heard: We combined the sections because we believed that we could give readers a stronger, fresher section. Monday through Saturday, the Style staff produces one section. On Sundays, the same staff was producing two. This way, all those resources can be combined. Plus, the two sections apart were very thin. This way, readers get a fat section that we hope demands and deserves attention.

    Silver Spring, Md.: I am very unhappy with the new Style and Arts section. As a Sunday only subscriber, my favorite part of the entire paper, not just the style section, was the Style Invitational. Nothing was better than a lazy summer reading the Invitational. As I read the new Style and Arts section I couldn’t help but analyze each article in the section and come to the conclusion that NOTHING in yesterday’s section was anywhere near as entertaining as the Style Invitational. Virtually every thing there could have been easily omitted to make room for the Invitational. I hope you will reconsider this move.

    Deborah E. Heard: I too love the Style Invitational. I moved it to Saturdays for several reasons. For one, I wanted to focus this new section on coverage of culture and arts. Plus, lots of readers were already used to getting the Invitational on Saturdays. It was already appearing in the Sunday early edition that lands in stores on Saturday mornings and it’s available online on Saturdays. One more thing: putting it on Saturday’s page 2 means that the wonderful Bob Staake illustrations could always be in color. The Sunday page 2 is a black & white page.