Sports

James Burns: Sun-Star sports gets new look; so long, tabloid

James Burns, sports editor
James Burns, sports editor

Curiosity killed the cat, and now...

It's laid claim to your tabloid sports section, too.

Beginning today, and moving forward into the foreseeable future, your local and national sports news will be packaged, printed and delivered as a broadsheet.

Just like the rest of the paper.

The era of a tabloid sports section is over.

At least here at the Sun-Star.

Why the change?

Well...

The answers are many. Like a spider's web, the motivating factors for the conversion are tied to all facets of today's newspaper industry -- the economy, reader feedback, etc.

Mostly, though, the change to a broadsheet sports section was born out of curiosity.

Three of the four sports reporters on staff -- myself, Sean Lynch and Tom Price Jr. -- double as designers, and all three of us were hired after the paper made the bold, daring leap to a tabloid.

All we've known is the boxy, small spaces of the tabloid. Collectively, we wondered what it would be like and what it would look like if we delivered the news differently.

While the tabloid sports section was truly unique -- providing our audience with a daily magazine-style cover and single-page showcases for our local commentary and features -- its restrictions were obvious.

Imagine squeezing 12 Clark Kents into one phone booth during the witching hour. That was your tabloid section on deadline.

Somehow, we made it work. Beautifully, too.

But change was coming.

Change was necessary.

We began flirting with the idea in December, while planning for our special presidential inauguration issue on Jan. 21.

Because of the nature of the paper that day, the sports department was told it would be a special one-time broadsheet. But really, we viewed it as an audition. A tryout of sorts.

So we debuted "The Road to the Show" -- a localized Major League Baseball preview -- and hit a home run. We tinkered again for our Valentine's Day publication on Feb. 14 and won hearts in two counties.

By then, we were ready to make the move.

The conversion, however, isn't complete.

By no means is today's paper a finished product. We'll continue to tinker with the product in the coming weeks, hoping to find a format that best suits your wants and needs.

We promise to stay on the cutting edge with our commentary, coverage and photos. And you'll find a fresher layout on Page 2 -- a section in the paper that we hope inspires laughter, conversation and deep thinking.

So here we are.

And here it is -- a new, broader era of sports journalism...

For the curious. Made by the curious.

James Burns is sports editor of the Sun-Star. He can be reached at jburns@mercedsun-star.com.

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