Features coverage changes provide more options to RJ readers

When I took over as features editor at the end of August, I dedicated myself to spending time learning and observing before making major changes. Two months later, it’s time to start down the road I hope will lead to a more useful, interesting and substantial section than ever before.

With additional input from the Review-Journal’s reader advisory board and the countless readers who have emailed and called during the past two months eager to share their opinions of our coverage, we’re ready to move forward as a department.

You may already have noticed some changes: We’re emphasizing staff writing and skipping wire and syndicated content where it makes sense. Beginning next week, look for box office rankings and new movie, book and album releases to make a return to the RJ.

You’ll also find a greater focus on travel and technology. As a city most often viewed as a destination, Las Vegas rarely benefits from travel stories meant for locals. We want to change that.

We also hope you’ll find our tech coverage — written with the thought that most of us rely on technology but few of us are experts — beneficial.

In order to make room for more staff coverage of the arts, music, TV, movies, pop culture, food, travel and tech, we’ve had to take a hard look at what currently fills our sections and how we can put our space to better use.

Our goal is to provide information that both print and online readers will find useful. With that said, we are cutting a few regular features that no longer represent the best use of our resources: the Human Matters column, the gardening column and most community theater, classical music and ballet reviews. RJ Goes to a Party will continue to run through the end of the year, at which point we will revamp our philanthropy coverage.

I recognize some readers will be disappointed to find a feature they enjoy missing from the RJ. Our goal is to provide stories and information that meet the needs of as much of our readership as possible on a daily basis.

We have put a lot of thought into which features to cut to make room for our new coverage, and such decisions do not come lightly. We remain committed to providing informational, insightful and inspirational stories online and in print, and, of course, welcome and hope for reader feedback. Our community and readers are and always have been our first priority.

I’ve received multiple emails from those concerned that dropping regular community theater reviews means the RJ has plans to cut arts and culture coverage as a whole. Allow me to assure you that this is not the case. We will prioritize covering important stories affecting the arts community in Las Vegas. Theater reviews simply do not tell the full story, and this move allows us to focus resources on more impactful happenings in the arts community.

Our goal is to continue providing you with timely, compelling content on whichever platform you choose to spend your time with us, and my hope is you’ll find these changes worthwhile. Please send us your suggestions and watch for an upcoming survey, which we’ll promote online and in print.

Stephanie Grimes is the features editor at the Review-Journal. She will write occasional columns to bring readers up to date on what is happening in the Life and Neon sections. She can be reached at sgrimes@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0232. Find her on Twitter: @stephgrimes

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