Opinion

Input from Reader Advisory Boards prompt changes

Its been a month since our first Reader Advisory Board meetings at The Arlington Times and The Marysville Globe and I wanted to report on some of the changes weve made based on the great input we received from those who attended.
Probably the biggest change weve made in the past month is adding a second full-time sports reporter. This will enable us to offer improved and more comprehensive coverage of local sporting events. In addition, the sports reporters will spend part of their time covering education and community news which will free up some time for our news reporters to focus even more on the types of stories members of the RAB said they would like to see more of.
People not policy is what the RAB members said they would like to see as the focus of the papers news stories. Weve made some progress in that area over the past few weeks and we will continue to strive to change our focus to meet readers expectations. Weve also made an effort to get more names and faces in the papers so that you can read about your friends, neighbors, co-workers and others.
Another change for the papers is that weve increased the number of pages in each issue so that we have more room to run more stories and photographs about the people who call our community home.
Weve also made a number of changes at our Web sites at www.arlingtontimes.com and www.marysvilleglobe.com.
The first thing we did was to rearrange and redo the index tabs on the left side of the screen to make it easier for people to find the stories theyre looking for.
There were two things suggested by members of the RAB regarding the Web pages and weve incorporated them both. The suggestion was to include a link to elected officials. On the Web sites you will now find links to the e-mail addresses of local, county, state and national elected officials. So if you want to e-mail a member of the City Council, simply visit our Web site, click on either City of Marysville or City of Arlington and click on the name of the City Council member you want to contact. Also included are links to the cities Web sites where you can find a variety of useful information including the agendas for upcoming City Council meetings. The second RAB suggestion regarding the Web sites was to make it easier for people to submit news tips and story ideas. Weve added an index tab Submit News Ideas/Tips which will send your suggestions directly to me.
The Web pages now offer two search functions so that readers can find stories that were previously published. The first search function will locate stories from recent issues. The second search function will look for historical information from past issues that are being scanned and put online. Currently, past issues for The Globe that are available include the years 2004, 2003, 2002, 1994, 1982, 1975, 1962, 1960, 1959, 1958, 1957 and 1945. Past issues for The Times include the years 2004, 2003, 2002, 1994, 1982, 1975, 1962, 1960, 1958, 1957, 1954 and 1945. Additional issues will become available as they are scanned and put online.
For our readers who commute to work each day, weve added a Check Your Commute link that will take you directly to the Washington State Department of Transportation Web site page that includes real-time video of I-5 at Ebey Slough looking south as well as a map showing the current traffic conditions on the major freeways.
Another Web site feature we are in the process of completing is enhancing and expanding the availability of photographs taken by Globe and Times staff members. Currently, if someone requests a copy of a photograph that appeared in the paper, well e-mail them a low-resolution (because of limitations of our e-mail) digital copy of the photograph. The new feature will enable people to order copies of any of the photographs taken by staff members, whether or not they were published. The high-quality prints will be available in a variety of sizes from sheets of wallet-sized to poster size. In addition, novelty items (such as photo mouse pads, photo buttons, photo mugs and photo T-shirts, emblazoned with the photos will be available.
These are some of the changes made or being worked on based on the input we received at our Readers Advisory Board meetings. We will continue to seek input and work to enhance The Arlington Times and Marysville Globe. If you would like to become involved, the next RAB meeting for The Arlington Times is March 22, beginning at 4 p.m., at the office of The Arlington Times and the next RAB meeting for The Marysville Globe will be April 19, beginning at 4 p.m., at the office of The Marysville Globe. Everyone is invited to participate and no reservations are required. If you would like more information call News Editor Sarah Arney at The Arlington Times are 360-435-5757 or Managing Editor Scott Frank at The Marysville Globe at 360-659-1300.

Scott Frank
Managing Editor

To contact a member of The Marysville Globe/Arlington Times editorial board Kris Passey, Scott Frank or Margi Hartnett e-mail forum@premier1.net.

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