Survey brings changes to Lifestyle pages

February 10, 2003|by Terry Headlee

Our 10-page Sunday Lifestyle section features a new look and some significant content changes starting today.

Nearly all of the improvements were based on a readership survey we conducted last year. Results from the extensive survey indicated readers wanted more information on home improvement, travel and places to go and things to do, among other things.

We took the results from the survey and developed prototypes that were reviewed by four reader focus groups last fall. More changes were made during the next several months based on their comments and observations of our proposed changes.

The culmination of eight months of work appears for the first time in section E in today's paper.

The most significant content change appears on the front page of the section. We've added a second story to the front page and added our "Out and About" calendar listing for a fourth consecutive day. This listing is valuable for readers looking for "places to go and things to do" in our region on Sundays and upcoming days.


As you know, we have an expanded Out and About calendar listing in our Thursday entertainment tabloid and condensed versions in our A section on Fridays and Saturdays.

We've also added two advice columnists to our second page. Hints from Heloise will now run a seventh day. We've maintained Annie's Mailbox and added Harlan Cohen, a relationship advice columnist who will appeal to a younger audience.

At the bottom of Page 2 will be a content promotion box that will list upcoming stories for the next six days in Lifestyle.

Another major change appears on the third page. We now have an expanded arts and entertainment calendar that includes a variety of events combined onto one page for easy reference.

We've redesigned our "@Home" page on page four to give us more flexibility on the types of stories we can offer on the page. This page will include tips on home improvement, gardening and the latest in high-tech gadgets, among other things.

Our popular Food page has been kept with an added twist - we will run a local restaurant review every other week. This feature was a big hit with readers who previewed it during the focus group sessions. We think you will enjoy and find the restaurant reviews useful.

A travel page has returned to our Sunday section (Page 6) after a one-year hiatus. Depending on the week, it will feature vacation destinations, overnight trips and so-called "day trips" to area attractions in our region.

Our popular Showtime section has been moved to Page 7 and will still feature interesting stories on movie and entertainment celebrities.

Other reader favorites, including our crossword puzzle page, bridge column, soap summaries, Hot Hits, antiques column and horoscope have been maintained.

We hope you enjoy the improvements, but also recognize that any time there is change there will be some readers who question why.

I hope this column explains our reasons for making changes to our popular Sunday Lifestyle section. We asked readers what they liked and disliked, and this new and improved section is the end result.


Terry Headlee is the executive editor of The Herald-Mail. He can be reached at 301-733-5131, extension 7594, or e-mail at

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