A Letter From the Editor | Letters | Chicago Reader

A Letter From the Editor 

On the occasion of some not insignificant changes to the listings in the print edition

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Vigilant Reader readers have probably noticed some changes in the print edition recently, and starting with this issue they'll see more. Editing always involves making choices, and we continually adjust our content for many and various reasons. The most recent adjustments allow us to serve our readers best by making the smartest possible use of our current resources—financial and human—and the different platforms available to us.

In print we're reducing our listings somewhat, cutting back on things that repeat week after week and information that's widely available elsewhere so that we can emphasize the sorts of things that only the Reader can provide: insightful analysis, in-depth reporting, entertaining event reviews and previews.

In theater, for instance, we're no longer printing every review of every show for as long as it runs. Instead we're including, in addition to the week's new reviews, only shows that are in previews or opening. Stand-up comedy, improv and sketch, and dance have been merged into our Theater & Performance section. Readers will find reviews and schedules for all those ongoing productions in our extensive online listings system.

In the music section, you'll still find our critics' takes on the week's most interesting shows, as well as expanded lists of shows our staff finds notable, all organized into a handy calendar. But we're greatly reducing the quantity of listings that run without comment.

Online you'll be able find more of everything, of course. And in the coming weeks, a new tool will allow event presenters to enter their listings directly into our database.

With Cecil Adams we've launched a new Chicago-specific Straight Dope site, where we'll help the world's smartest human fight ignorance on the local front. And we've got loads of other Web-only articles, interviews, and features.

It's no secret that times are tough. By some accounts our industry has seen the evaporation of 15,000 jobs in the past year. But despite the economic disruption, or partly because of it, this is a thrilling time to be a journalist. In a city where the two major dailies are struggling, control of the local Time Out franchise is up for bids, public radio funding is dwindling, and the country's sexiest Web-based news operation is running a local site with one employee, a company like the Reader has an important job to do.

Want someone to sort out the mob clamoring for Rahm Emanuel's vacant seat in Congress? We can do that. Wondering how to choose among the dozens of concerts happening this weekend? We can help. How would you like 25 reviews of local Indian restaurants to accompany a longer piece on where to get authentic Keralan cooking? We've got that too. We'll be reviewing just as many movies, plays, and restaurants as we as ever have, if not more—and we'll have more opportunity to go long and deep on them if we want to.

We know many readers still prefer the paper edition, and for a good long time we intend to deliver a Reader in print, where you'll be able to read the long-form journalism we're famous for. Online we'll offer all our printed content as well as thoughtful daily blogging, searchable listings, aggregated news, and a growing roster of new features that play to the strengths of the Internet.

If you'd care to weigh in on the shift, we'd be happy to hear about it at letters@chicagoreader.com. In the meantime, please enjoy this week's special section devoted to the inauguration of President Barack Obama, containing stories both old and new and demonstrating, we hope, some of our finest qualities. —Alison True

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