Inside the BBJ: Looking back, looking ahead

   After an eight-year run on page 2, I’ve moved my column back here to C15 and renamed it “The Last Word.”
   I know, I know. Riveting.
This is actually just one move in a coordinated series of ongoing changes we’re going to be making here at the paper.
   We’re in the midst of a pretty major front-page redesign that will result, when completed (no timeline for that yet; we’re going with the tried-and-true “when it’s ready”) in a less gray, more graphically oriented look.
   In non-newspaper parlance, that comes out to “less text, more graphics.” It won’t be that the stories aren’t in the paper in their full form, it’s just that instead of starting on page 1, they will be teased there and run inside.
   Anyhoo, the early iterations of the new look are very promising. We have a great graphics person here, Sean Echelbarger, and I want to make the most of his talents. I anticipate we’ll have more large illustrations on the cover as well, as opposed to just photos.
   Time will tell.
   Until the new cover design has been completed, I’ve moved the jump from the front page to page 2; so whatever portions of stories that don’t end on page 1 will now be located on A2 instead of A6. This just makes more sense; you shouldn’t have to skip five pages ahead to finish a story you started on the front page.
   All these changes have me thinking back wistfully to the day I took the editor’s job here, almost nine years ago.
   The paper has certainly evolved since then. I keep a copy of the cover of my first issue as editor in my desk, and occcasionally pull it out and give it a look.
Back then, we were still putting all the paper, with the exception of the front page, on flats using hot wax. Getting it onto plates for the press was a mechanical job; those flats were then photographed at the Herald, who used to do our printing then.
We’ve been 100% digital for about seven or eight years now — no more wax involved anymore, thank goodness. Everything is sent to the press now via the glory that is the Internet. Unfortunately, this does rule out any possibility of further games of “wax dodgeball” we used to have with a former publisher who will go unnamed, but whose initials are Tom Cock.
   In a month or two, it’ll be time for the BBJ editorial retreat, and more ideas will be integrated into the paper from that.
   In the meantime, we’d love to have advice and feedback from you, the reader.
   What would you like more of?
   What do you read in the paper each month without fail?
   What don’t we have that you wish we did?
   What is in the paper that you never read?
   Help us focus the BBJ; your answers to these questions are invalauble.
   E-mail any feedback to me at the address below!

John Thompson is publisher and editor of The Bellingham Business Journal.
He can be reached by calling 647-8805, or via e-mail at


Related Stories