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Remaking the News-Herald, Dec. 12, 2005

Sorry that I’ve been negligent in updating this feature over the past week. We were holed up last week with the consultant working on the redesign of the News-Herald that I’ve written about a couple times.

Most recently, I had written that we were hoping to have the new News-Herald launched around Jan.1, but it appears that was a little overly optimistic. Our target date now is Jan. 17.

The reason for the delay is that it’s a much bigger project than we had anticipated. Aside from hiring staff members, we’re in effect trying to build a newspaper from the ground up, determining content, what will run when and where, who will be responsible for producing it, where they will get the information, how it will be presented, even the little standing heads that run with regular features.

While it can be tedious work, it’s also exciting. It’s my sincere belief that in about a month, the Suffolk News-Herald will be one of the best community newspapers in Virginia from any standpoint you can imagine.

A big part of this transformation is going to be the responsibility of the community. There are several features in the News-Herald that will depend on reader participation and interaction.

You will be seeing lots of ads in the paper promoting these features and soliciting contributions. The first ad broke Sunday for our &uot;Ask the Expert,&uot; feature. We will be taking reader questions about any subject and attempting to find the folks who can answer them.

Others include &uot;Acts of Kindness,&uot; in which we are asking readers to let us know about some act of kindness, no matter how small, they they’ve witnessed or been the beneficiary of; &uot;We can do better,&uot; in which with readers’ help, we will identify and publicize things in our community that need to be repaired or spruced up; we’ll be introducing a &uot;sound off&uot; feature for people to call in and anonymously comment on issues; we are also seeking photographs from readers; want to know about birthdays in our community, and many others.

If you have questions about any of these, please contact me or managing editor Douglas Grant and we’ll help you with your submission. You can get me at 934-9611 or at andy.prutsok@suffolknewsherald.com; Doug’s available at 934-9603 or at doug.grant@suffolknewsherald.com.