YOU may have noticed some changes in the Monitor recently. Now, a newspaper is self-explanatory; it is its own memorandum. But May starts our new fiscal year; editorially it is a new beginning. And as with our year-ago report to readers, we thought some words on what we're up to may be of interest.
This week we moved our Editorials column inside to Page 18, where you see them. We wanted the Monitor's own observations about the news to be included in the Opinion/Essays section, as it is in most newspapers, instead of standing alone on page 20. Moving the Events column from Page 2 to Page 20 prepares the way for giving Events and our Page 1 stories a later "chase" deadline. The Page 20 space under the cartoon can be used for news features like today's "World from Beijing" column.
You likely noticed too the evolution this past spring of our new section labels. These replaced the larger block icons. The new crisper-looking labels give editors much greater flexibility in the placement and sizing of stories. We now generally have a two-page spread each for our National, International, and Economy sections in the first half, news section of the paper. This gives these sections equivalent space, allowing focused coverage of government agencies, state policy developments, and economic m atters. A Cover Story section, new this week, introduces a series of longer trend and idea-driven stories.
Our international coverage has steadily spread throughout the paper, particularly the Wednesday Monitors, which form the base of our World Edition. We are adding two bureaus shortly, in Seattle and Toronto. The Seattle bureau will give readers coverage of the northwestern United States, western Canada, and the US portion of the Pacific rim; the Toronto bureau will give readers fuller coverage of the industrial crescent that Canada shares with the United States. Added to our Mexico City and US bureaus, th e new sites make it possible to consider North America as the unit that its trade, geography, and politics call for.
This week too we started up our new electronic photo desk: We now can receive color news photos almost instantly from around the globe, store them digitally, or send them at story-transmission speed.
On special reports: In the first four months of 1993, the Monitor published nearly 30 special projects - "Resurgent Iran," "Reforming Congress," "The Storm Over the Budget," among them - a record pace.
Riding the national election wave, Washington writers John Dillin, Marshall Ingwerson, Amy Kaslow, and Peter Grier led staffers in the number of Page 1 stories this past year. Also, far more writers, in a broader range of subjects, appeared out front. Moscow writer Dan Sneider wrote the most Page 1 major analytical pieces.
Six questions have been posted for this year: How educationally useful is the Monitor to readers? Are we seeking out larger geographical canvases that help explain world trends? How can we provide varied, appropriate lengths for stories? Is our writing gaining in felicity? Is the presentation clear, bold? Is the Monitor expanding its presence in world and professional thought, where it can have effect?
Such themes drive the changes you see.