Nancy Barnes: We're adding depth to the Sunday Star Tribune

  • Article by: NANCY BARNES
  • October 16, 2010 - 5:34 PM

We deliver news and information for the newspaper, web and mobile sites 24 hours a day, seven days a week. But when it comes to priorities for quality content, the Sunday paper almost always comes first.

More than 500,000 households get the Sunday paper -- 200,000 more than for most daily editions of the paper. On any given Sunday, more than 1 million people read the Star Tribune in print, and over the course of a month, 1.3 million people will have read the paper, according to our most recent research. That makes us one of the largest Sunday newspapers in the country, a fact we attribute to an educated and highly engaged reading population.

For all those reasons, we are constantly trying to upgrade the quality of the Sunday paper to hold the attention of readers who have competing demands for their time. This Sunday, you'll see the first of many changes to come over the next few weeks. The most visible change today can be found in the Variety section. Traditionally, this section has exclusively showcased arts and entertainment content, a reflection of our rich and varied arts community. That content will remain the same.

However, we are adding space to the section to include more of the other lifestyle content we run during the week, which many of our Sunday-only subscribers never see.

That includes a full page on nesting (about things related to the home); a Dollars & Sense column from John Ewoldt, as well as standing health and dining features. In addition, the family page from the Twin Cities + Life section is moving into the Variety section. Senior editors Connie Nelson and Tim Campbell, who oversee our features staff, said their goal is to give you "the best of Variety" on Sunday. (And if a few readers decide they want more of what they have been missing from the daily paper, perhaps they will consider picking us up daily as well.)

To replace the family page that has moved from Twin Cities + Life, we have added several new features to that section as well. Every week, in a new feature we're calling "My Minnesota,'' staff writers Curt Brown and James Lileks will tell the stories of people from all walks of life around the state. Ben Welter, our copy desk chief, who has a penchant for history, will bring you a local historical footnote, and we have added a new consumer-oriented data feature. This week's column focuses on restaurant inspection data.

Finally, in the Business section, we are launching the first of several content changes you will see over the next month intended to give more heft to one of our most important coverage areas.

Around this time last year, Eric Wieffering, a veteran business reporter, writer and editor, left the paper to work in the business community. He returned to journalism two weeks ago to take on the role of business columnist, a job that can be done only by someone intimately familiar with Minnesota's vast business landscape. His column will appear every Sunday, starting today, and once or twice during the week, depending on the news. His task is to deliver commentary and insight into Minnesota's business news in a smart and nuanced way. I expect that he will also break news in his column.

We're delighted to have Wieffering rejoin the staff. He brings journalism chops that would be welcome at any news organization in the country.

As Wieffering and I discussed his return to the paper, he told me that he had enjoyed his year outside the newsroom but that he knew his heart was in business journalism.

"Minnesotans care about business and the economy, and we are fortunate to have one of the richest and most diverse business communities in the country," he said. "I've always said this is one of the best communities in the country to be a business reporter, and a column is a great opportunity to provide the kind of context and perspective that our readers expect."

We hope readers enjoy these changes. You can send your thoughts via e-mail to or by post to Nancy Barnes, Editor, Star Tribune, 425 Portland Av., Minneapolis, MN 55488.

Thank you for reading the Star Tribune.

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