Today the Arkansas Democrat Gazette shrunk by half a column in width. That's not necessarily surprising, in these days of economic woe for the industry. Many other papers have taken the same measure recently; some took it some years ago; others have been forced to more drastic cuts.
What's strange is that the paper itself seems to contain no notification of the change. Not on the front page, not on the op-ed pages, not in the local news section, not in business. The result is that readers all over the state unfolded their papers, wrinkled their brows, and said to their spouses, "Does this look smaller to you?"
And it happened to be the day that the managing editor publishes his weekly column. Seems like that would be a natural place to talk about the decision and explain the rationale. Instead, it's a discussion of how the Dem-Gaz and other newspapers handled the late-breaking news of Ted Kennedy's death. Interesting, but strangely removed from the fact of the skinnier newspaper one is holding in order to read the column.
I hope there will be ample coverage of the paper's finances and business decisions in the days to come. It would have been nice to have seen such coverage coincide with the tangible evidence of its contracting fortunes.