Paper debuts new look

A wise man once said, "The more things change, the more they stay the same."

You are holding in your hands the end result of several months' worth of work. The Snoqualmie Valley Record has a newer, more up-to-date design.

We hope you like it.

But despite the new look, one thing remains constant: our commitment to bring you news from the Valley.

That will never change.

We have been planning this redesign since spring. We've tried to evolve the paper slowly, knowing that after the paper was sold last year to Horvitz Newspapers Inc. some of you were - and still are - concerned that the Valley Record might lose its focus on local events and people.

In March, using newly installed pagination equipment, we began producing the paper entirely on computers. That ended the decades-long sticky practice of using wax to paste up the paper, which made the office smell like a crayon factory.

In April, we started running color photos on the front page of the paper. The paper's flag, a panoramic view of Snoqualmie Falls with Mount Si in the background captured by North Bend resident Anne Herman, remained in black and white.

That flag was important to many of our readers. It demonstrated this paper's ties to the community, and it served as a constant reminder that we live and work in a special place.

We thought long and hard about replacing the flag. In the end, we decided to make the change, but we knew we still wanted part of the Valley there at the top of the page. So our photographer, Bruce Savadow, created a photoillustration of Mount Si. That majestic mountain now stands as a sentinel on our front page.

This is the third redesign I've been a part of in my newspaper career, and it's never an easy process. There has been one guiding principal during all of those efforts, and that is to make the paper as reader-friendly as possible.

In this case, we've reorganized the paper's innards. Local news, including school news, opinion and police and fire reports, is now contained on the first few pages of every issue. Sports comes next, and community news - with obituaries, birth announcements and the calendar of events - comprises the final pages of the paper.

In the future, local news, sports and community news, will make up individual sections of the paper, and each of those sections will be in color.

One feature that didn't make the transition to the new look is our comics page. We figured when people bought out paper, they wanted to learned what the latest was with Tollgate Farm and other local events, not what was happening in the life of "Popeye."

With our whiz-bang computer hardware and software, there is always the potential to go too far when designing a paper. We have tried to use the technology in moderation.

Now I want to know what you think. Do you like how the paper looks? Do you have any suggestions on how we can make look even better? Call me with your ideas, or e-mail them to This is your newspaper, too, and you should have a say in how it looks.

Barry Rochford is the editor of the Valley Record.

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