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The New East Bay Express: Smaller But Bigger

Yes, the page size is smaller. But our editorial coverage is expanding.



By the time you read this editor's note, you undoubtedly will have noticed some changes at the East Bay Express. This week's issue marks a thorough redesign of the paper, only the fourth new design in the paper's twenty-nine years. It also is the culmination of the transformation we intended to make when a group of investors bought the Express last year and returned it to independence and local control.

Probably the first change you will notice is the size of the paper itself, which is an inch and a half shorter than it was last week. In the past year, this new page size has been adopted by papers including the Oakland Tribune, Contra Costa Times, San Jose Mercury News, The New York Times, and The Wall Street Journal, and is quickly becoming the standard in our industry. I could BS you with nonsense about how we reduced our size to make it "easier to read on BART," or because the new size "just feels better" in your hands, but we really did it to save on our printing bill. When we purchased the Express from Village Voice Media last May, it was losing a considerable amount of money. (I am contractually unable to share the details, but they have recently become public thanks to the lawsuit between the San Francisco Bay Guardian and SF Weekly, our former sister paper.) By trimming our page size and printing bill, we are making the final change needed to make the Express the self-sustaining local business that it was for more than two decades.

Yet, at the same time, we're also adding about four more pages of editorial content to this and future issues. This week marks the return of "Savage Love," the popular sex column; "Seven Days," an opinionated weekly news digest; and "Culture Spy," a weekly arts feature; plus the debut of "Ideopolis," a biweekly look at East Bay residents with interesting ideas. We're also bringing back the cartoon "Partially Clips," which will join "Savage Love" and Norman Dog's "Bad Habits" on a page between the music section and Classifieds.

Meanwhile in the listings, we have completely revamped our dining guide, and now will list several hundred East Bay restaurants each week. We've also reorganized our music listings. Concerts and club events are now grouped together in a single section, but DJ and dance clubs are being broken out into a separate listing of their own. And if you haven't yet visited our new web site,, let me take this opportunity to point out that you can always find hundreds more listings online.

In the weeks to come, we'll also unveil new reader-generated columns and art, kids and all-ages music listings, improved art gallery listings, standing directories of East Bay and San Francisco clubs, and a host of new editorial content in the classified section, including listings dedicated to classes and workshops; mind, body and spirit; and home and garden. We'll also be returning personals to the paper.

All of this new and improved news and arts coverage has a smart new home in art director Justin Page's snappy redesign of the Express, which also debuts today. The most notable change is on our front page, where we will continue to present our weekly feature story while also doing a better job of showing off the paper's other contents. And inside, we've even managed to retain the same number of words per page, so while we may be shorter, we're no less nourishing. I believe our new design is clean, attractive, and easy-to-read — even for us folks with reading glasses.

We wouldn't be investing in our paper today if we didn't believe that the East Bay was such a fascinating place, and that the Express will have a bright future by providing smart local news coverage and effective regional advertising. To you long-time readers, thanks again for your support. To those of you who may have been alienated by some of the changes that occurred while we were owned by out-of-towners, please give us another look. We think you'll like what you see.

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