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Furst Draft: Austin P-B gets a new look

As of Monday, the Austin P-B will have a new, brighter, more contemporary look.

Yesterday I picked up a box of my favorite cereal at Hy-Vee — Quaker Oatmeal Squares, if you must know — and found the box had changed, as it seems to every time I buy it. Even the Quaker Oats man has been updated, as much as you can update a guy with a powdered wig.

Cereal boxes change more often than most other consumer products, but not much. That's part of doing business and being competitive — everything changes to catch a customer's eye, hopefully to meet his or her needs better. Tastes change, design trends come and go, new looks and language come to market, and businesses have to keep up.

That's true for us as well as any other consumer product. Yes, we report important news and are the "first draft of history," we look out for your right to know, we're a visible reminder of the First Amendment — but in the end, we're a consumer product and we need to change constantly to catch your eye and meet your needs, which is a very long introduction to the news that we've redesigned the Austin Post-Bulletin.

If you're a Rochester reader or live outside of Mower County, you might not be aware of the Austin Post-Bulletin, but we've published that paper for more than a decade now and have an Austin newsroom, circulation and advertising staff, and a long-standing commitment to the Austin area community.

As of Monday, the Austin P-B will have a new, brighter, more contemporary look. We've redesigned it from the top of the front page to the bottom of the back page. Our nameplate or "flag" on the front page will change, as will the ways we promote what's inside each day's edition. We've added and reorganized content inside, and we'll add more color, readability and attractions.


We haven't updated the look of the Austin P-B design for three or four years, which is too long in our business. Our goals this time were simple:

We want the front page to be bolder and more attractive, with bigger headlines, bigger photos and more colorful, easy-to-use guides to what's inside.

Every day we should have a quick but substantial review of state, national and world news, and beginning Monday you'll find that. Most of our Austin subscribers buy the "combo" package, which includes the Rochester edition, but for those who buy the Austin P-B straight-up, we'll do a better job of reporting national and world news you need to know. 

Top business news and marketswill be more prominent and complete, on page A3.

We'll have a stronger and more consistent state and national sports reportevery day, while keeping very clear that our first and most important job is to have the best local sports report in town. We do already, and we'll keep it that way, thanks to Scott Kolb and team.

And we need more lifestyle newsin the Austin P-B. Again, "combo" readers get plenty of lifestyle news already, but we'll plan more lifestyle news and information, especially local and area events, and lots of food coverage and recipes.

As you hopefully know, we redesigned the P-B more than a year ago, with many of the same goals in mind — cleaner, crisper, more contemporary, better-organized and just a better reflection of the dynamic and growing Rochester region. We never quit fine-tuning, but later this year we'll take a fresh look at how to make the paper more relevant, easy to use and easy on the eyes.

First-rate design isn't about cosmetics, and we don't redesign the P-B and Austin P-B just to amuse ourselves. Good design represents a commitment to quality throughout the whole product and organization. It's a statement that we're relevant, plugged in to how you live and what you need, and we're absolutely not static — we need to change as our readers' lives change and as the culture changes.


How are we doing? We're only as good as the feedback we get from people like you who buy and read us, so give me a call.

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