Fresh eyes and a fresh look


Three people stand at the edge of a lake as a gentle breeze causes light ripples on the water’s surface.

The first person, a marine biologist, notes the species of fish, insects and algae within view. The second person, a kayaker, notes the direction of the wind and current and calculates how long it would take her to reach the far end of the lake. The third person, a philosopher, smiles happily as the beautiful scene confirms his hunch that he does exist.

The three people are viewing the same scene, but they’re focused on radically different aspects of the vista. And of course, there are many ways to view the lake other than through the lenses of philosophy, math, physics or biology.

Our imaginary lake scene is similar to how the various employees of an organization, through their disparate areas of expertise and responsibility, contribute to understanding the whole. When each person is doing their job well, the organization adapts and stays current as each employee carries out their tasks with an eye on maximizing current performance while also mapping out future innovations.

All of that is a lengthy way to say: take a look at the small changes on our Opinion pages in the Alexandria Times.

The discerning reader may have already noticed that our old section headers/identifiers on these pages – Our View, Your Views and My View – last week were changed to Editorial, Letters and Commentary. In addition to changing the words, the fonts and colors have changed. Additionally, the headers on our standing columns on the second op-ed page have been streamlined.

We thought readers might be interested in the “sausage-making” process behind these tweaks.

Our new editor, Leslie Golden, has cast a fresh eye on the Times since joining us this spring. She recently suggested that we reconsider the old Opinion headers. Times publisher Denise Dunbar, who manages the editorial pages, agreed and researched what other publications do. We collectively decided to move from the two-word headers to the streamlined “Editorial(s), Letters and Commentary.”

Enter Times graphic designer Jessica Kim, who goes through a meticulous planning process when designing any Times product, be it an ad, branding materials or, in this instance, section headers. Kim considers the size, the location, the color and how the change fits with the overall look of the paper in making recommendations. She took the words that Golden and Dunbar selected and designed the visual components of the changes.

And that’s why and how our Opinion pages underwent their recent changes.

Like the fictional biologist, kayaker and philosopher by the lake, our Times team continues to think deeply about things within our areas of expertise. Our goal is to keep im- proving the product in the paper each week, in ways small and large.

We thought you might find it interesting to gain a win- dow into the processes we follow before making even seemingly small changes.