The Reader Advocate

Published August 30, 2008 1:35 am
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2008, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Come sit beside me and let me hold your hand while we work through the changes in The Tribune that have upset you.

First let us speak in low, dulcet tones about the daily stock listings. Many of you have expressed dismay that we eliminated what amounts to about a page of agate type that contained the stock information from the previous day's trading.

One reader expressed the opinions of many readers in this e-mail:

"I am very disappointed with your decision to only list a very limited list of daily stock quotes. In an effort to save money, I have been trying to get my wife to cancel the paper for quite some time. She has resisted so far, but this is the final straw. The only portion I read regularly is the stock quote. If there are plans to consider reinstating the stock page in its entirety, I would certainly like to know about it. Otherwise, I will not be renewing my subscription."

We will be sorry to lose you as a subscriber if you follow through on that.

The Tribune was one of the last daily newspapers to eliminate the large stock market listings. We did it only after determining that stock market information is available a number of different ways in today's world. You can find stock information in the bottom-of-the-screen ticker on CNBC, on the Internet, by calling your own stock broker, on our Web site http://www.sltrib.com or by calling an 800 number we provide on the Markets page every day. (That number is 1-800-555-8355; after a short greeting, you say, "Stock quotes," and follow the directions.)

Since stock information is available in so many places, we decided to save newsprint (a very expensive commodity) by eliminating that page.

We responded to the complaints of many by putting the precious metals price quotes back in.

We will not be bringing the full page of stocks back, however. In a time when revenue is down and newsprint prices have gone through the roof, we have to use space in the paper wisely.

What local newspapers offer that readers can find nowhere else is clear and extensive coverage of local news events, trends, governmental actions, schools, prices and other news that impacts the lives of readers.

Game summaries: Many of you have called and complained about the missing game summaries of major league baseball action.

These summaries used to run preceding the small-print statistics on games.

Again, the pesky problem is the cost of newsprint. Joe Baird, deputy editor for sports, explains:

"As is the case with the rest of the paper, we are faced with a shrinking newshole. To address this challenge, we have had to make some hard choices. We eliminated the baseball recaps as a way to get the bulk of our Major League report on one page. Doing this is saving us roughly half a page worth of news space per day. And we are still providing coverage of the pennant races through our 'Down the Stretch' feature on the sports cover, as well as our 'Game of the Day' on or next to the baseball page."

This was not an easy decision, Baird says:

"Removing the recaps wasn't done lightly. But it really came down to a choice of continuing to run them, or pulling back on our local coverage of the Jazz, the Utes, the Cougars, etc. And that's really not an option. High-level coverage of those and other local teams and athletes are what the vast majority of our readers want. It's what has made us one of the top 10 sports sections in the nation for a paper of our size."

But the plan for coverage is not set in stone:

"We're planning to bring back the recaps next summer when there isn't as much going on. And we're going to keep talking and brainstorming. If we can find a way to reinvent the recaps in a way that won't eat up so much space, we'll do it. But for the time being, we felt this was the way to continue giving our readers what is most important to them."

The Reader Advocate's phone number is (801) 257-8782. Write to the Reader Advocate, The Salt Lake Tribune, 90 S. 400 West, Suite 700, Salt Lake City, Utah 84101. E-mail: reader.advocate@sltrib.com.

This week's stats

* 43: Number happy with political coverage

* 8: Number who think we don't cover McCain enough

* 91: Number asking where the stock quotes are

* 16: Number who cannot read the bridge hand

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