The old mantra says, "If it ain't broke, don't fix it." Our front section wasn't broken, but we wanted to give it a fresh coat of paint, for a number of reasons.
Some of the best journalism comes from thinking outside the box, and our revamped front section practically blows up the box. In a nutshell, it provides us with much more space and flexibility with our news coverage. While you'll still see the narrative journalism and in-depth stories we strive to bring readers each week, our new design allows us additional room for a substantial amount of news briefs. These briefs are a mixture of breaking news, our take on the notable stories in Acadiana each week, and humorous items on the more absurd developments around town.
Speaking of around town, Staff Writer Nathan Stubbs' column of the same name will no longer be running. And Editorial Director Leslie Turk's "Turk File" column will now run on the fourth week of each month, as part of The Independent Weekly's monthly business section and Acadiana Consumer Confidence Index package. But Stubbs and Turk will continue to contribute the hard-nosed beat reporting they brought to their columns every week ' their stories and scoops will simply be mixed in with the redesigned "Word on the Street" section. So fans of Stubbs' government and political reporting and Turk's business and media reports will still have plenty to look forward to in every issue from both writers.
The changes in our news section complement some subtle redesign changes we implemented in January in our Living Ind section. These include moving away from a rigid horizontal format for our arts and culture stories and incorporating bigger photos and graphics in our "Party Girl" section. In our "The Week" calendar section, we've arranged our live music listings by venue and separated family-oriented events into their own section in the daily listings.
The MVP in this process was Independent Weekly Art and Production Director Jason Roy, who's logged some looooong hours during this process. It's not a stretch to say he's been designing two papers since early January. Between designing and producing the paper weekly with his usual flair and keen eye, he's been constructing new templates in his, ahem, free time, and methodically constructing this redesign piece by piece. It hasn't been unusual to find Jason here in the office on the weekends or until 8 p.m. on weeknights.
We'd be remiss in not thanking New York Pizza & Deli, The Filling Station and Jefferson Street Pub, who provided inspiration in other ways during some of those late nights.
Of course, looks aren't everything. While making The Independent Weekly more visually appealing is essential to our mission, it won't mean a thing if there aren't compelling stories and essential news that readers can't find anywhere else in Acadiana. And I'd humbly suggest that this week's issue offers multiple examples of that kind of quality journalism. Contributor Kristi H. Dempsey's in-depth examination of Lafayette's rocketing real estate prices is a revealing look at a number of market forces creating the high cost of living in Lafayette; Senior Writer R. Reese Fuller reports on the strange downtown battle brewing over long-time street vendor Faramarz "Frankie" Yaghobi; Turk lays out the scenarios for Lafayette's next television station; the details of the multi-million dollar new Acadiana Technology Information Center contract comes courtesy of Stubbs; and Staff Writer Erin Zaunbrecher and regular contributor Mary Tutwiler teamed up to report on some of Acadiana's most vibrant gardens, just in time for spring.
Saints quarterback Drew Brees and wide receiver Nick Toon are not on the same page yet, and time is running short for Toon to get it right.
U.S. Rep. Vance McAllister started his sign-up for re-election the same as other candidates, filling out paperwork and handing over qualifying money. But he finished it like no other, doused with ice.
Friday's Blogs from the Bog!
Jell-o sales plummet; Hamas kills suspected informers; bodies arrive in Malaysia and more national and international news for Friday, August 22, 2014.
That’s what Lafayette Parish has obtained in Pentagon surplus since 2006.
Qualifying continues through Friday.
The political tilt of the Senate during President Barack Obama's final two years in office is likely to hinge on a handful of female contenders in tight and costly races.
A former BP executive will be allowed to travel to the United Kingdom later this month while he awaits trial on charges relating to an investigation of the 2010 Gulf oil spill.
Friends and family will celebrate Spider's life in September.
Saints safety Jairus Byrd has rarely been so eager to hit and be hit, if only to reassure himself that his surgically repaired back is as healed as doctors believe.
Jindal privatized nearly all the LSU hospitals without waiting for federal officials to sign off on financing arrangements that rely on millions of federal Medicaid dollars.
U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu and her main Republican challenger, Congressman Bill Cassidy, verbally sparred as they officially signed up on the opening day of qualifying for Louisiana's November election.
Superintendent tells crowd he'd just emerged from a four-hour meeting with the attorney hired to investigate him.
The start of the three-day qualifying period for November’s elections has so far yielded 10 official bids and one new announcement from candidates seeking a seat on the school board.
It’s been just over four months since attorney Barry Domingue committed suicide the morning before he was to stand trial for a second day in the federal Curious Goods case, leaving his fellow attorney/co-defendant Daniel Stanford with a temporary mistrial and awaiting his day in court.
Candidates for Louisiana's Nov. 4 election must officially sign up for the ballot this week.
Gov. Bobby Jindal's effort to derail Louisiana's use of the Common Core education standards was halted Tuesday by a state judge who said the governor's actions were harmful to parents, teachers and students.
New Orleans Saints running back Mark Ingram isn't letting a humbling start to his pro career lower his opinion of what he can still accomplish in the NFL.
Visualize Lafayette’s next great thing from 3,000 feet.
A Baton Rouge judge issued a temporary restraining order Monday against enforcing a law that prohibits anyone 70 or older from running for justice of the peace or constable.
Gov. Bobby Jindal believes the last-minute passage of a pension hike for his state police superintendent, Col. Mike Edmonson, was improperly handled, according to the governor's office.
As the courts hash out the attempts to preserve and shelve Common Core in Louisiana, a group of six state lawmakers are planning an Aug. 22 trip to Oklahoma to meet with their counterparts and strategize for the 2015 regular session.
While hopes are high for turnout this fall, a new report from the Center for the Study of the American Electorate suggests that Louisiana's midterm face-offs may amount to nothing special in terms of votes cast.
The attorney hired by the Lafayette Parish School Board for a special investigation of Superintendent Pat Cooper has submitted his final report, though it may be another week before the findings are made public.
The Tea Party of Louisiana is calling Sen. David Vitter a “turncoat” for his newfound embrace of Common Core educational standards.