24 Pages Every Three Weeks

By Daniel Bodden

Less is more. It’s kind of a dumb saying, and it doesn’t really make sense, does it? No one wants half of their paycheck, half the friends, or half of a waffle taco when they could have the whole thing. So, who would want half the North Star?

Well, we think you will.

Last April, we started getting restless. As almost anyone at FHN knows, the North Star is one of the top newsmagazines in the country. So it was kind of ironic when on the same day we won second place best of show at Nationals, we decided it was time for a complete overhaul of the paper.

We had found our rhythm after switching to the newsmagazine format years ago and were cranking out paper after paper, month after month. We had some of our best issues ever and won our first Pacemaker ever. We had found a system that worked and were dominating at sticking with it.

But, there’s no fun in staying stagnant or becoming a machine. We were ready for a new challenge. This is what we came up with, and we think it puts some truth behind that saying, “less is more.”

The biggest changes go hand-in-hand. We wanted our issues to be more frequent and more readable. So, we made the decision to have a paper come out every three weeks rather than every four to six. This gets the North Star in your hands more often, and gives everyone something to get excited about every three Wednesdays, rather than once or twice a quarter. In order to do this, we switched to a 24-page format, rather than our traditional 48-page format. Considering most of our readers read the paper only in first hour or Homeroom on paper day, this makes more sense than putting out a paper that takes more than an hour to read cover-to-cover.

In the switch to 24 pages, we lost our in-depth section that used eight pages to examine a single topic. Without this confining center section each month, we hope to be more diverse in our coverage and include more faces and groups from around the school that we previously didn’t have space for. Not only that, but we also will be more diverse in our storytelling. We will devote space to reader-friendly infographics, interesting narrative stories, and outside-the-box ways to get information to readers. Expect more things along the lines of Flat Ameis or the Gatsby character quiz from last year, rather than endless blocks of words that even the most motivated reader abandons halfway through.

Lastly, we are going to have special editions of the North Star for the first time ever. We’re keeping those under wraps for now, but the first one is coming later this semester, and we couldn’t be more thrilled.

Maybe whoever said ‘less is more’ knew what they were talking about. Or maybe it’s just as dumb as it sounds. Either way, it’s going to be a great year and I’m glad you opened up the new North Star for the first time. Thanks for reading and being along for the ride. See you again in three weeks…