In a culture centered on routine, deadlines and pressure, change is something newspapers generally do not embrace. If 2020 taught us anything it’s the importance of adapting and evolving. It’s with the need to pivot and progress forward in mind we today launch a new look for us here at The Dispatch.
It’s been more than a decade since we have had an overhaul of the visual appearance of the paper. We have opted for a higher grade of newspaper print in recent years to ensure quality reproduction and avoid the black ink smudges associated with some publications. However, it’s been too long since we updated our weekly headers and columns as well as the front page. What you see on our pages today are not massive changes, but they should be immediately noticeable and represent an overall improvement. The designs will stay the same during the year, but the color schemes will change with the seasons to stay fresh.
It was refreshing this spring and early summer to even weigh these opportunities for change. It represented a return to normalcy. We are in our 38th year of serving the coastal region of Maryland. The 37th year was without question the toughest. The challenges – most of which none of our doing — were robust and the concerns – as complicated as they get with no easy cures — endless. Indeed, 2020 was a year to forget, but also a source of pride in what it has been overcome. Anyone in business who is still around today and embracing the new normal should beat the chest a bit because what was overcome was unprecedented and should not be understated.
Gone today are the feelings of panic and fear from 2020 when the pandemic brought a crisis to small business operators. There was no guidebook to refer to for advice. There were no years of experience to serve as confirmation. There were no trusted individuals in the industry to call to bounce concepts off. The only course left to chart was work hard with passion and fight through it. It was a year to focus on details, adjust as needed and remain fluid. It was survival mode. This paper was about half the page count a year ago this week than it is today. We are rebounding. It’s a summer of recovery and correction with better times ahead.
Though proud of our team in the art department who created and steered the new design effort, it’s what these changes represent providing the most excitement. While some may miss the old layouts and others embrace the new look, we hope we can all agree on one thing – the community newspaper is alive and well enough to be introspective again and make improvements. It probably means more to us, which is understandable as we live with ink running through us, but we do always seek to be reflective of the community we serve. We are a much healthier business today than we were one year ago or even six months ago. It’s worth celebrating, and we choose to do so with a new look and feel on our pages. We look forward to continuing to serve in the trusted role of a community newspaper for years to come.