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.
The Lafayette superintendent insists the budget is illegal and vows to fight on.
"I am not a scientist," Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell has said numerous times, a response that other members of his party have parroted.
Republicans are running strong races against endangered Democratic incumbents in states such as North Carolina, Colorado, Arkansas, Louisiana and Alaska. Republicans are also looking to replace retiring Democrats in Iowa and West Virginia with a GOP lawmaker.
Republican congressman Vance McAllister is trying to make up to Louisiana voters for getting too close to a married former employee.
You may not like all of “it,” but U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu, unlike many of her colleagues, isn't sitting around twiddling her thumbs in Congress.
Saints safety Kenny Vaccaro says he "can't wait" to play against Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers.
The heat keeps rising for Iberia Parish Sheriff Louis Ackal as a new slate of corruption allegations surfaced this week.
If opposing defenses sell out to stop the Packers' passing game, they risk being gashed by powerful running back Eddie Lacy, a New Orleans-area native.
At the horn the officiating crew trotted to the tunnel and left security personnel to clean up after them.
Friday's Blogs from the Bog!
Sign "ninjas" cleaning up clutter; NYC doctor positive for Ebola; Ferguson grand jury decision nears; and more national and international news for Friday, October 24, 2014.
We can safely assume incumbent Chief K.P. Gibson isn’t too worried about this challenger.
Nationally, Republicans must gain six seats to win Senate control. The most competitive races, many in states where Obama lost in 2012, remain too close to call.
The Baton Rouge Republican has repeatedly battled a perception within his own party that he perhaps wasn't the best choice to carry the GOP banner.
Even if Jimmy Graham's production dips while the star tight end recovers from a shoulder injury, it looks like Drew Brees won't have much trouble finding other targets.
A former campaign manager for Senate candidate Rob Maness is striking at the Republican contender's tea party support, saying Maness only sought to appeal to conservative organizations because he needed money for his campaign.
Ninety-two percent of public school teachers were rated either effective or highly effective in a report the state issued marking the second year of a new statewide evaluation process.
School board members Mark Babineaux, Hunter Beasley and Tehmi Chassion can vote to fire Cooper — because we all know that’s exactly what they’ll do.
District 2 school board candidate Simon Mahan is hoping to unseat first-term incumbent and former Carencro Mayor Tommy Angelle in the Nov. 4 election.
District Attorney Mike Harson is showing his desperation by falsely attributing quotes to his opponent and blocking journalists from his social media.
The governor is traveling the country laying the groundwork for a possible 2016 presidential campaign, but his approval ratings at home hover well below 50 percent.
State District Judge Bob Downing extended the order and delayed a planned Wednesday hearing about a permanent injunction while negotiations continue between Attorney General Buddy Caldwell and the waste disposal site operator.
New Louisiana higher education commissioner Joseph Rallo will be paid more than his predecessor.
Elijah McGuire and Alonzo Harris each had four rushing touchdowns, and Louisiana-Lafayette rolled to 419 yards on the ground in a 55-40 victory over Arkansas State on Tuesday night.
Bill and Hillary Clinton are the validators-in-chief for Democrats struggling through a bleak campaign season in states where President Barack Obama is deeply unpopular.