Delaware State News to roll out new format Tuesday

DOVER — On Tuesday, you’ll notice a difference in your Delaware State News.

We’re getting taller. Three inches in page height, to be exact.

The width is the same, as is commitment to local news coverage.

On the news side, we welcome the 25 percent larger canvas to improve page design and presentation of the great photos our chief photographer Marc Clery and our equally talented and experienced stable of freelance photographers have been taking.

On Page 1, it should allow us to get more lines of type with each story before the “jump” to another page.

And, we should find that we less often have to jump stories multiple times on inside pages.

We’re also making a slight tweak to the “leading” — the white space between lines of text — to improve readability.

The important consideration with typography, though, was that we did not want to make any radical changes. Readers tend to react negatively to changes in fonts and point sizes.

For puzzle-doers, you’ll be happy to know we have consolidated all of them on a single page.

I’m picturing it flat on many of your breakfast tables with a sharp pencils in hand and hot cups of coffee nearby. How many of you try to complete the crossword, Sudoku, Jumble and Wonderword as part of your morning routine?

In house, we decided it was time for a change.

The Delaware State News has been in a “compact” format since April 1, 2009.

Up until then, the Delaware State News — which became the first daily in in the capital of the First State in 1953 — had always been a multi-sectioned, folded “broadsheet” that changed in height and width in different eras. Back in the 1960s, an opened paper could cover the majority of a breakfast table.

There are efficiencies and improvements with this that will benefit us, on the production and printing sides of our operations here at 110 Galaxy Drive in Dover.

And there are new opportunities for advertisers who want more space and impact.

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One of the joys of working here for so long as an editor has been reflecting on the many changes in the newspaper, from its page size to its typography to its use of color. It is amazing how much has changed on the production side, too.

Software allows us to put together pages quietly and efficiently.

My first night on the job as sports editor in 1990 was an exercise in organized chaos. Paper was coming off a printer, getting waxed, cut and pasted up on galley sheets on backlit banks. If you weren’t careful, an Exacto blade would leave a scar.

One of the greatest improvements is photo quality. A good deal of it relates to today’s plates and the modern KBA press that Delaware Printing Company utilizes.

In the old days, there were several generations of an image before it actually became the ink on your newspaper.

Consider that we had film and prints. The slamming of the darkroom door was part of the action.

As sports editor, I remember often getting a cold, damp photo of a football game on deadline, measuring it quickly with a pica pole and spinning the sizing wheel to quickly determine how it should fit on a page.

The print was taken into the camera room and converted into another image that was basically a series of dots. It was waxed and cut then put on a page. The finished page was sent back to the camera room on the page so it could be printed as a full page, then duplicated as a negative and burnt into a plate.

Now, we hit print in the newsroom and Honda-sized printers efficiently separate the cyan, yellow, magenta and black plates so our pressmen can pin them on the rollers of the press.

The image now goes from the digital camera direct to plate, so the quality never diminishes.

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On Tuesday, we will publish the first installment of a three-day series from the Associated Press. It tackles the issue of juveniles who were sentenced to life in prison.

Did you know that, before a 2012 U.S. Supreme Court ruling on juvenile life without parole, Delaware had 14 offenders in that category? All were re-sentenced from November 2013 to April 2016. Five have been released.

Read more starting Tuesday.

Reach editor Andrew West at awest@newszap.com

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