Of horses, streams and change
December 28 2001 by Tony W. Cartledge , BR Editor

Of horses, streams and change | Friday, Dec. 28, 2001

Friday, Dec. 28, 2001

Of horses, streams and change

By Tony W. Cartledge BR Editor An old saying, generally quoted in opposition to change, asks why anyone would want to change horses in the middle of a stream. The question assumes, of course, that the person is riding a horse, and that the horse is making progress toward the other bank of the stream. I can think of several reasons.

A rider might change to a fresher horse to get across more quickly, perhaps, or to a braver horse if the current mount was skittish. One could change to a prettier horse in fancier gear for esthetic reasons, or to a taller horse that might keep the rider's pants from getting wet. When traveling to an area where dappled horses are known to cause offense, one might switch to a solid-colored steed.

In short, there could be any number of legitimate reasons for changing horses in the middle of the stream, none of them necessarily implying that the old horse is incapable of getting across.

So, why does this week's printed edition of the Biblical Recorder look so different? Why have we "changed horses in the middle of the stream"?

Let me point out the changes you'll see, and the rationale behind them.

1. The paper is folded differently, so it arrives with the front page showing and no longer has a "cover." The reason for this is straightforward: it provides us more usable space for news and advertising copy. In most cases, the picture that would have been on the cover will appear on the front page as the dominant image, though smaller than it would have been on the traditional cover. There was also some unused space on the former "back cover." The new arrangement remains attractive while using space more efficiently.

2. We'll think of the new front page as a "cover page." From week to week, it will be heavy on stories about missions and ministries, including local, state, national and global features and reports.

Hard news" - including both routine reporting of denominational events and the treatment of controversy, politics, and the like - will begin on "The Inside Front," which will usually appear at page 7 or page 9, at the center fold.

With this shift, to mangle another old clich�, the Biblical Recorder is putting its money where the editor's mouth is. I have often said Baptists would be better off if we focused more on the missions and ministries that unite us, and less on the conflict that divides us. So, we're putting missions and ministries up front.

It would be irresponsible for us to ignore denominational events and issues that are relevant to Baptist life, however, including those that threaten cooperation and promote division. We remain committed to keeping our readers informed about the news that matters to Baptists, and they can always find it on "The Inside Front."

3. The editorial and opinion pages will appear in their accustomed position (pages 2 and .c.3), with the "Church Events" page generally occupying page 4 and stories continued from the cover page following that. Page 6 (or 6-8 in a 16-page paper) will be the place to find informative resources from the Baptist State Convention ("The Church Leader"), our resource pages for children, youth, and seniors, or other supportive materials.

4. Pages in the latter half of the paper will include stories continued from "The Inside Front" and the bulk of our advertising, including the popular classified section.

Sunday School lesson commentaries will remain in their customary spot inside the last page.

The newly reformatted back page may include a variety of materials, including some church-related comics, a Christian crossword puzzle, media reviews and other features.

5. Every issue will feature color photography, and more issues will include 16 pages, rather than 12. An expanded arrangement with the Religion News Service will give us access to more and better photographs, charts, and other graphics. We believe this will give the paper more visual appeal.

I am committed to our mission statement, which calls for the Biblical Recorder to "further Christ's kingdom among North Carolina Baptists by providing relevant news, insightful opinion, and supportive resources in a timely and accessible fashion."

I believe we have done this faithfully, and that the new format will help us to do so more effectively.

The changes you see were prompted in part by what we hear from our readers, and we're still listening. Let us know what you think of our new horse.

Copyright (c) Biblical Recorder Inc.
12/28/2001 12:00:00 AM by Tony W. Cartledge , BR Editor | with 0 comments
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