The Baltimore Sun will launch its long-planned zoning project, "Sunburst," on Sept. 28 in Anne Arundel, Carroll and Howard counties, the newspaper's publisher, Michael J. Davies, said yesterday.
That means readers of The Sun and The Evening Sun in those areas will receive newspapers customized for their counties, featuring community news, editorials, sports, television listings and advertising.
Both newspapers will continue to provide full coverage of state, national and international news.
Readers in Baltimore City and Baltimore and Harford counties will begin receiving their zoned newspapers early next year -- if the economy picks up, Mr. Davies said. The newspapers had planned to begin Sunburst in the city and five counties at the same time.
"Without a full economic recovery, it is prudent to start Sunburst as two stages," Mr. Davies said. "Economic growth fizzled in the second quarter, and while we hope for a complete rebound soon, good business practice dictates that we start first in three counties.
"Readers in those three counties will get vastly improved local news and sports coverage on that date. . . . Every survey we have taken shows that improved local coverage is what readers want most from The Baltimore Sun."
The newspapers have been undergoing sweeping changes in preparation for Sunburst.
The staffs of The Sun, The Evening Sun and the current suburban editions have been merged. News and advertising personnel have been redeployed to the counties. Bureaus in the five counties are being enlarged and, in some cases, relocated. City offices for news and advertising will remain at 501 N. Calvert St.