When I came to the Ripon Commonwealth Press in September 2000, it was just my second job in journalism.

   Nearly 20 years later, it still is, even as changes blow through the industry and even through our own newspaper.

   Nothing stays as constant as change, they say.

   Except the Commonwealth’s design.

   With just one redesign of the paper in the last quarter century, this community’s paper has been one stable port in that storm.

   And, for me, that’s meant nearly 20 years of publishing our famous (maybe even infamous, to some) broadsheet paper.

   1,012 of them to date, to be specific. (Our sports guy and in-house stats guru, Jonathan Bailey, clued me in to that fact.)

   But this issue, the one you’re holding in your hands right now?

   It’s going to be the last — last broadsheet that is.

   As of next week, we’ll be unveiling a new format.

   When you receive the March 5 edition of the Commonwealth, it will feature a new look.

   A handful of readers have seen bits and pieces of what that format will be; we test-marketed certain aspects of that design during the revamp process.

   Some of those elements survived to our final design; others (like some past iterations of our front-page masthead) did not.

   Some changes you’ll certainly notice; others you may not.

   But one will be impossible to ignore.

   For the first time since 1864, we won’t be printing the Commonwealth in the broadsheet format.

   Based on our testing, it sounds like many of you will love this change. When we surveyed readers a couple months ago, we heard time and again that broadsheet papers are too big:

   “It is an awkward size.”

   “Smaller pages please, the size is unwieldy.”

   “Make the Commonwealth Press a smaller size! Perhaps like The Express.”

   Readers, we’ve heard you loudly and clearly.

   Starting next week, we’ll start publishing this paper as an 11-by-17-inch “tabloid”-size paper, just like The Express is.

   I’ll admit that while the smaller-sized paper is easier to hold, it’s not perfect.

   Maybe they don’t line birdcages quite as well.

   It’s harder to wrap a present with a tab page than a broadsheet.

   When hiding from strangers on a park bench, the narrower sheet just won’t cut it.

   True, but at least you won’t pull a muscle trying to flip through its super-wide pages.

   Some of you will say this change is coming because we have new owners. And you’d be partially correct.

   The new ownership encouraged us to move toward redesign much sooner than later.

   But that’s a good thing.

   As I’ve said to Jim O’Rourke and Joe Mathes numerous times, I was itching to redesign the Commonwealth.

   Even if they hadn’t said it was time, I was probably only weeks away from asking to do the same thing.

   It is time to redesign the Ripon Commonwealth Press.

   Our design served us well since 2008 — you know, back before iPads were even a thing?

   But it’s gotten dated.

   Design ideas that seemed great a decade ago now seem tired.

   So, starting next week, we’re shedding last season’s wardrobe and trying on something new.

   What’s going to change?

   Well, I don’t want to spoil the surprise.

   But if you keep an eye on our Twitter and Facebook accounts, I’ll be posting a few, small sneak peeks.

  Rest assured, it’s still going to be your Commonwealth. It’s still going to offer the same award-winning news we’ve published all along. We’re still going to have those grocery inserts you want to see to plan out next week’s meals. And, unlike many newspapers nationwide, we’re still going to take strong editorial positions on local issues.

   We’re still us ... but with a fresh, new suit.

   The staff of the Commonwealth is excited about the change. Hopefully, you’ll be excited about it, too.

   And keep your eyes open — we’ve got a few more big changes we’ll be announcing soon as well.

   See you next week, when I start my next 1,000 issues!