Columbus Dispatch bringing back standalone business section

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The Columbus Dispatch, an Ohio paper that has put business news inside its A section for the past three years, is bringing back its standalone business section on Monday.

The new section is part of an overhaul at the paper, which is rolling out a smaller page size for its printed paper. The paper had maintained a standalone Sunday business section.

In a column last week, editor Benjamin Marrison wrote, “Our research made it clear that you highly value our award-winning coverage of business news, and the new section will put a brighter spotlight on that content.”

In 2007, the business section had been moved to the back of the sports section.

Here is what business editor Ron Carter told Talking Biz News by email on Sunday:

It’s very exciting to return to a standalone section. For the past several years, we’ve been inside the A section for daily, while maintaining our own section on Sunday. That’s one of the advantages of our new format. Our work will start getting much better display again beginning tomorrow.

I think readers are really going to like the new, smaller format. One thing that stands out is that it’s much easier to read agate copy. This will be really good for our daily stock report and our Sunday tables. The same will be true for sports.

One of our goals with the transition to the new format is to better promote our witers. One of the ways we will do this is with a daily blog item from the staff that will be used as part of our page two rail, and it will include a photo. We’ll also be doing more with regular graphics that provide a snapshot of the local economy.

Much of what we’ve been doing, however, won’t change. We’ll just be in better view, like we used to be.

I asked him about new features in the standalone section. He replied:

We’ve been doing a lot to boost our Sunday section over the past year, so all of that just shifts to the new format.

We started a rotation of monthly features on Sundays (Biz Extras) that includes a retail column, a development column, a feature on goods made in central Ohio and something we call Game Plan. The latter can be by readers to help them manage their lives. We tell them for the month ahead when it’s a good time to make a purchase, what foods will be on sale at the grocery, important financial planning dates, how to save on energy costs, etc. Then, on the odd month that has five Sundays, we use something called Work Stories, where people write in and tell funny, serious and unusal tales about their work life.

We also started a new feature on commercial real estate that takes a look at the biggest deals of the week.

Beyond that, we do not want to get bogged down on too many standing features. We want to leave as many resources as possible to cover the news on a daily basis.