Two Tennessee dailies redesign with Creative Circle

Both owned by Sandusky Newspapers


Readers of the Times News in Kingsport and the Johnson City Press, both in Northeast Tennessee, saw new looks on Tuesday, Dec. 12. The redesigns of the Sandusky Newspaper Group papers are somewhat different but the goal is the same: Make them easier to read.

But it's not just the design that has changed; it's also the ways in which stories are told, according to Times News Publisher Rick Thomason, who is overseeing the project.

"Our redesigns aren't just about fonts, rebranding and colors," said Bill Ostendorf, president and founder of Creative Circle. "It's really about changing newsroom culture and creating content that is more relevant, more interesting and easier to read."

The redesign really began nearly a year ago with regular training and feedback for the staff. "It takes a long time to change cultures," said Ostendorf.

"We're doing less just straight narrative copy and more grids, Q-and-A's, pros-and-cons, lots of pieces that will give the reader more entry points into the story and make them easier to digest and easier to read. We started doing this back in the summer," Thomason said.

Those changes have already been well-received by readers, he said. Single-copy sales are up and some former subscribers have returned saying they picked up a single copy and thought it had improved.