Change is in the air thanks to hundreds of responses to the Bermuda Sun Readers’ Survey in May. Perhaps you’ve already noticed some of the changes.  

We’re increasing the number of stories in the newspaper — made them shorter, more concise.  

We’re using more photographs in our reporting.  Sometimes you’ll see nostalgic photos from our archives to retell a story from decades ago.  

The layout is changing.  You’ll see more digestible interviews with newsmakers and entertainers that are equal parts fun and serious.  

Your responses to our readers’ survey guided us through many of these changes.

You told us news is your highest priority and you especially like it when news is focused on the economy, jobs, crime and public safety.  

We’re listening.  

But that doesn’t mean we’ll forget about all the other kinds of news, it just means we will dig deeper and research longer on the subjects you care most about.  

After all, we believe a community paper should respond to direction from its readers.  

This belief carries over to Bermuda Sun Online, too.

We now know more about the social media platforms you like most. We were glad to hear 80 per cent of you think our redesigned website is as good (11 per cent) or an improvement (69 per cent) over the old site. 

Vocal few

We also figured out or confirmed some things about online commenting. 

Only 30 per cent of you think it’s “important” or “essential” to comment online about news content. It was a surprising number. 

In fact, just 9 per cent say they comment on stories “often”.  See panel.

All of this tells us the online commenting feature across local media is dominated by a small, outspoken and anonymous few and is not a fair reflection of public sentiment.  

Even so, we want the small and outspoken few to be among our readers too, so we’re talking internally about how we reshape our comments section to balance the best interests of the few, the best interests of the greater public and the law.

In fact, we’re still talking about a great many things we learned from both our online and print readers’ surveys and that includes sports, lifestyles, entertainment and business reporting.  

The content improvements are being implemented by our editor-in-chief Tony McWilliam and there are many more to come; just a small fraction of the planned changes are already in place

We hope you like what you’ve seen thus far, especially since many of the ideas came from you, like the return of Sun Girl/Sun Guy. 

I was surprised 66 per cent of you wanted us to bring back this 1980’s-era feature. Personally, I was sceptical.  

I shouldn’t have been.  Here’s what I’ve learned through this process: we must trust our readers and listen to them more.  They’re a pretty smart bunch. 

Glenn Jones is acting general manager for MediaHouse, the parent company of the Bermuda Sun.