This style guide was put together in 2008, just in time for the launch of a redesign Oct. 16, 2008.
This style guide was put together in 2008, just in time for the launch of a redesign Oct. 16, 2008.

  We've been talking for a few weeks now about changes coming to the Commonwealth.

   As of Jan. 1, The Ripon Commonwealth Press is now owned by Delta Media Group. That’s just the tip of the iceberg, so to speak, of what’s going to change here at the paper.

   Some changes you’ll see; some will remain behind the scenes.

   Some changes we’ve already made; some are on their way.

   And for some, I’m going to ask for your help.

   Let’s start with the nuts-and-bolts stuff.

   As of this week, our email accounts have changed.

   We’ve ditched the @riponprinters.com accounts that have served us so well for many years.

   From now on, you can catch us @riponpress.com — just like our website.

   Mine, for instance, now is istepleton@riponpress.com.

   We’re also changing our general email accounts as well.

   Instead of having three group accounts to choose from when sending us general information, we now have two:

  • For news releases and letters to the editor, send them to: news@riponpress.com.
  • For everything else? Email office@riponpress.com.

   Other contact information? It’s hit-or-miss whether it’s going to change. Phone number and website likely will be the same, but we’ll soon have a new street address and post office box. We’ll post updates, probably on page 3, as such changes occur.

   Meanwhile, our in-house deadlines are changing. We’ll be going to press early Tuesday evening virtually every week (with exceptions for major news events, such as big elections).

   The biggest effect you’ll see is that Tuesday night sporting events no longer will be covered in Wednesday’s paper. But that doesn’t mean we’ll be ignoring them.

   Looking to find out how a team fared? Check out Twitter (@RiponSports).

   (We also have a Twitter account, by the way, for the news — @RiponPress — but it’s been dormant for lack of reader interest. Would you like us to rekindle it? If so, what would you like to see posted to that page?)

  Some changes, though, have yet to be determined.

   Sometime soon, we’re going to be undertaking the first major redesign of the Commonwealth in more than a decade.

   Remember when we changed from the staid, gray format to our red-heavy one currently in use? George W. Bush was still in office, America had fallen into economic turmoil and Michael Phelps was earning his first gold medals.

   We’re due for a change.

   But what those changes will look like aren’t yet written in stone.

  What should a modern print edition of the Commonwealth look like? We have a lot of decisions to make. That’s where you come in.

   What features in the paper do you value?

   What part of the paper do you turn to first?

   What puts a smile on your face every week?

   And, conversely ...

   What don’t you ever read?

   What do you think we could do away with?

   For instance, do you read all three historical features we have across the “Views” spread: the “Remember” photo, “Week that Was” and “What were we thinking?”

   Do you pay attention to the Senior Menu, as well as the Ripon Channel and Senior Activity Center schedules? Do you look at the “On Deck” sports schedule for upcoming games, or do you get this information elsewhere?

   When we complete the redesign, we want this to be both a paper that you recognize as your (hopefully) treasured Commonwealth, but also something you value and enjoy reading.

   What do you wish we were doing that we’re not doing now?

  Similar changes also will be coming to our website.

   While it’s served us well, it’s time to make a few changes to it as well.

   One, as I’ve said before, certainly will be an e-edition (coming at a date to be determined) where you can read our full print paper online, with a subscription.

   But that’s just one change. What do you appreciate about our site? What don’t you like?

   Do you watch videos when we post them? Are you surprised to find out we’ve been posting videos?

   This is the kind of information we need as we mold our website and paper into their next iterations.

   We really do want to hear from you — email me your thoughts!

   Will we be able to please every reader and incorporate every suggestion? Probably not. But as I’ve said before: This is the community’s paper, and we want the community to be invested in these changes, too.

   Just be sure to send those thoughts to my new email address!