Slight change for success

By Taylor Sinclair

For 40 years, The Orion had the same broadsheet newspaper format with little to no change.

In spring of 2016, however, Editor-in-Chief Stephanie Schmieding, decided it was time to shake things up and change the newspaper’s format to a tabloid.

She thought it was time to appeal to The Orion’s audience in a way the publication hadn’t before. The staff noticed that most students read The Orion at classroom desks, where the broadsheet format proved cumbersome.

“The tabloid version allows people to more easily browse what is in The Orion in that type of environment,” Schmieding said. “Also, we thought a lot about design and getting people to pick up the paper.”

The drastic change brought new opportunities with page design. The new layout of the paper allowed designers to put more of an emphasis on design, which Schmieding hoped would make people pick up the paper more.

Photos and stories fit differently in the square shape of the tabloid format, which created a challenge for page designers to make the most of each page.

“We had a few issues in the beginning with design, because this change demanded an entire restructuring of our design process,” Schmieding said. “Thankfully, Miles Huffman did an incredible job of smoothing the process before we began by designing and preparing this new system.”

Miles Huffman, fall 2016 managing editor for The Orion, has had hands on experience in the design of the newspaper since making the change. Huffman’s favorite part of the new format has been working with the cover, giving The Orion a chance to create more fun and eye-catching designs.

“We aren’t trying to put news on the cover but more of tease to what’s inside,” he said.

Part of the drive for change was to give readers a paper they can read more easily. The new Orion allows students to be able to sit at their desk and flip from page to page without taking up too much room.

“Most people seemed pretty happy to have something they can manage,” Huffman said.

Change, however, brought criticism. Not everyone was a fan of The Orion’s new format.

“The shape is called a tab but that doesn’t mean we are a tabloid,” Huffman said. “I think people look at the new format and assume that the content can’t be taken as seriously.”

Fall 2016 Editor-in-Chief Jenice Tupolo has continued to field questions regarding the change a semester later.

“The biggest criticism we get is that people miss reading a ‘newspaper,’” Tupolo said. “We've gotten mixed reviews mostly. Some like its convenience, others miss the broadsheet.”