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Newspaper to get a facelift

September 14, 2018 GMT

LAUGHLIN ― The Laughlin Nevada Times is getting a total facelift. From top to bottom, the weekly newspaper will have a new look and new content beginning Sept. 19.

The paper will change from a broadsheet format to tabloid, said News West Publishing General Manager Larry Kendrick.

The tabloid format always more flexibility with layout and design and will allow for clearer richer images for advertisers and readers, alike, he said.

Management is hoping to create a stronger interest in the paper so that it can be expanded to cover more news in Laughlin, Kendrick said.

It is time to make the Times competitive, said Chief Editor MJ Smith.

“As people change the way they access their news, community newspapers have to evolve as well,” said Smith who was hired to make changes to The Times, the Mohave Valley Daily News and the Needles Desert Star. “It has been a long time since the Times was updated. It’s due for a freshening.”

With the change from broadsheet to tabloid, the paper will have a magazine feel, she continued, with a focus on featured stories instead of breaking news.

“The Times has tried to compete with the immediate news cycle,” Smith said. “That is impossible as a weekly. Timeliness becomes your enemy when you’re on a weekly schedule if you’re trying to deliver it in the same format as a daily or compete with the Internet and social media.”

Information can change before a story even hits newsstands, and often breaking news items are no longer relevant and that’s not a service to the readers, Smith said.

News whose relevance decreases with time will be moved to the Mohave Valley Daily News, she said.

For The Times, there will be a move to in-depth features and investigative reporting, she continued.

“Rather than looking to The Times for things like minutes from the town board meetings that are timely and that we need to get out in a more immediate fashion, readers will find those in the daily,” Smith said. “But they’ll still be able to look to The Times for topics that are impacting their community.”

There will be more in-depth reporting on issues impacting Laughlin for both businesses and residents, Smith said.

Like newspapers across the country, paper tariffs hit News West hard which prompted the company to tighten their products, Kendrick said, and that has directly impacted the editorial department.

“Paper is more valuable and we have had to weight story against story to decide what needs to be covered,” Smith added. “News content in the news print industry is measured in inches. When a paper has to reduce the number of pages in order to stay on budget, the space for information is limited. Moving to a tabloid format will give us greater freedom for coverage.”

Paper costs are one reason News West is changing how they deliver news to Laughlin and the Tri-State across all of their products, said Smith.

Social media and the Internet are excellent and horrible all at once, she said.

People began to expect the immediate news cycle and the media responded by trying to beat their competitors to the punch, offering news before it could be verified or confirmed, Smith said.

She sees a correlation between the move from a daily news cycle to immediate news availability as the beginning of the public’s distrust of the media, she said.

“Inaccuracies and errors make it easier to label news that is controversial or unfavorable as ‘fake news,’” she said. “We’ve lost the trust of the public and in today’s climate, reliable, unbiased news is more important than ever.”

Sometimes there are topics that need to be reported immediately, such as road closures that will impede a resident’s ability to get to work or the status of a power outage, they will be available on the website and social media, said Smith.

A staff member has been added to manage the Times social media and web presence but quality won’t be sacrificed in order to be first, Smith said.

Some things won’t change. Submissions from readers ― such as photos or story ideas ― are encouraged and accepted.

“Community involvement is vital to our role as newspaper of record for Laughlin,” Smith said. “We encourage clubs, the schools, the town manager’s office, Metro, Metro Auxiliary, all the groups that are living and breathing Laughlin everyday to send us images and briefs on what they’re doing.”

When appropriate, staff will dig deeper into those things, she added.

Readers can reach The Times at laughlintimes@gmail.com or visit The Times on Facebook, Laughlin Nevada Times. The paper is also on Twitter ― @LaughlinEditor.