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Fair Game

By TOM JOHNSON

 

Get ready…this week is the calm before next week’s debut of the new “Stu News” redesign

This week, we’re dimming the lights in the Stu News newsroom to allow staff to be with family and friends over the holidays. It’s also a chance that allows them to rest, relax and recharge the old batteries as we prepare to kick off 2024.

And what a year it’s going to be right out of the gate with our first issue of the year. For months, we’ve been fine tuning a product redesign. It will debut in what we’re hoping is its new splendor come Tuesday, Jan. 2, 2024.

Here’s what you can expect. A much cleaner page set-up. Gone will be what we internally call the “right gutter.” It’s the single column that runs down the right side of the page and what many times competes with stories or photos, or both, that run down the middle.

So, expect stories to be presented in a clearer design running completely across the page; as, too, will ads. It should make for an easier read all the way around.

And trust me, a redesign is not something we take with a grain of salt. They are few and far between and completed after much thought.

But, we also realize that we’re not the judge and jury. You, our readers are, so let us know what you think after you spend a little time with it next Tuesday.

We also realize change is always difficult and some people, quite frankly, just don’t like it. So, disappointment is anticipated from some, but hopefully it will be few and far between.

We’re also hoping that the new design will make for a better home for advertisers to share their messaging with our growing number of readers.

Local news products are also not as commonplace any longer as the latest national statistics bear out, with many more failing and going out of business than beginning. Fortunately, we’ve been on the good side of that effort.

Still, we honestly could use more support. Not a week goes by when we don’t think of new things we’d like to add to our coverage, and we’re only limited by the funds to continually reinvest in our business.

Should you have a business, big or small, for profit or not for profit, we have a program that should work with your budget.

So, if you’d like to find out more, send me an email to tomjohnson@me.com and we’ll collectively figure it out.

I remind you again that this week will be softer than a “normal” week, but we won’t just pass on any news stories that need to be told. We’re on it, even during the holidays.

So, Happy New Year! Here’s to a great 2024 together.

• • •

The City of Laguna Beach has scheduled a Strategic Planning Session for City Council on Friday, Jan. 19, 2024 at 8:30 a.m. at the Susi Q Community Center. The community is welcome.

A working agenda can be found here.

• • •

Our own Sara Hall reported earlier this year that the Laguna Beach City Council unanimously approved a ban that restricts the sale and use of balloons effective January 1, 2024.

What does it mean? “The new ordinance states that no person shall use any balloon at any city facility or city-sponsored event, or any event held in a public area. No person, including, but not limited to, a balloon wholesaler, retailer, or third-party vendor, shall use, sell, or distribute any balloon within the city. It also prohibits people from intentionally releasing or organizing the releasing of balloons.

“Staff clarified that the ordinance does not apply to balloons being used on private property,” as reported by Hall.

Still, party on!

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