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Start the Presses: More digital, less paper

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In my nearly four years in the editor’s chair, I’ve used this space on occasion to talk about our joys, our pains or to announce changes. This column has a bit of all three.

Though I risk repeating myself, I want to make sure everyone is aware of two significant changes to our online editions. First, all of our websites now use a Facebook-based commenting system. Why? Because I got sick of the trolls — an Internet term for people who insult others or make outrageous statements for the sheer sport of it.

In particular, I got tired of the bigotry and hatred in comments made by faceless cowards, often directed at people of Armenian descent. Our new system eliminates much of the anonymity I believe was the root cause. Comments now show up on users’ Facebook pages, and most people have such accounts in their own names.

Is it possible to set up a fake Facebook account? Sure, but I’m guessing our more hateful trolls will just move on and spew their garbage from under a different bridge. And, if some slip though, they’ll be easier to identify and block.

Second, we have launched iPhone, iPad and Android apps for the Glendale News-Press. If this proves successful, look for apps for our other publications as well. It’s important for us to make our articles available to our readers in whatever way they prefer, and this is an important step. Please check them out by visiting the Apple App Store or Google Play, or refer to the links on GlendaleNewsPress.com.

At the same time, we are making significant changes to the frequency and distribution of our print editions. In particular, this will be the last Sunday paper delivered to our readers in Burbank and La Cañada. The Burbank Leader will return to its Wednesday/Saturday schedule, and the La Cañada Valley Sun will return to being a Thursday-only paper.

The Glendale News-Press and Pasadena Sun will continue as usual with their respective Sunday editions. The News-Press, however, will cease publishing a print edition on Tuesdays, with Nov. 6 being the final publication date for that paper.

Though the days are changing, the focus is not. The News-Press continues to be focused on all things Glendale, Montrose and La Crescenta. The Leader will still serve Burbank, the Valley Sun will still cover La Cañada like no other publication can, and the Sun will continue to be a force in Pasadena, South Pasadena and San Marino.

Our popular “In Theory” section will continue to be published on Sundays in Glendale and Pasadena, but will move to Thursday and Saturday for La Cañada and Burbank readers, respectively.

Our arts and entertainment section, Marquee, will be published in full in the Burbank Leader Saturday paper, but will be more narrowly focused in La Cañada due to that community’s interests.

During the days we are not publishing a print edition, we will be redoubling our efforts in our online products — particularly in our breaking news blogs, The818Now.com and The626Now.com.

Also, starting next week, our sports department will be unveiling its new web strategy, putting a greater emphasis on our sports-specific Facebook pages and Twitter accounts. Look for a more visible sports presence on our homepages, as well as in the blogs.

Change is hard, and I am sad to see the print editions go. The information, however, will still be there. Our papers have been an indispensable source of information for many of our communities for more than a century, and that will not cease.

DAN EVANS is the editor. Reach him at (818) 637-3234 or dan.evans@latimes.com.

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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