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From the Editor: A makeover and a return columnist

Starting Tuesday, you will notice a change in the Bemidji Pioneer.

It's been a theme around our building lately, but this one might be a bit different.

Instead of reading new content or adjusting to how we deliver news, sports, entertainment and other features you're used to finding in a newspaper, this change has to do with our look.

In many ways, our appearance is really important. For many readers, it's the first thing they notice when they pull the newspaper out of their green Pioneer tube, pick it up off the newsstand or grab a copy lying around at a local office or business.

We value the content in the newspaper, often made from scratch every day by hard-working people dedicated to bringing you information about the community in which you live and work. We want the paper to look clean, be easy to read and relevant with timely information and advertisements that bring value to your life.

So the process of updating the paper's design - our wardrobe so to speak - began months ago. It took many hours of planning, experimenting and tweaking to make sure the pieces come together.

Publisher Dennis Doeden tackled the undertaking and worked with Ed Henninger, an independent design consultant who has worked with hundreds of newspapers and niche publications worldwide.

Staff also provided input as Dennis, an experienced designer himself, went about creating our new look.

Some changes will be more noticeable than others. For instance, there will be more space between packages on display pages like Page 1 and Sports. Also, we'll be using a new main headline font and stories will be set flush left on the page to eliminate gaps between words. The top of Page 1 will feature a promo of an inside story and the weather forecast paired with a local image from photographer Monte Draper.

It was no small task as redesigning a newspaper requires working out kinks for hundreds of minute details, including which fonts to use, when to use them, how photos and art will be incorporated into page layout and communicating changes to the staff. The variables can appear infinite.

We hope these design changes increase the readability and enjoyment of your community paper. As always, your comments are welcome.

Swenson column returning

Also this week, the Pioneer launches a new column this week on the Opinion page.

You'll recognize his face and voice, though.

Brad Swenson, who started working in the Pioneer's editorial department in May 1980, will write a weekly political column featured in Thursday editions of the newspaper.

Swenson retired last July due to medical issues. He has served the newspaper as a reporter, managing editor, political editor and editorial writer, winning numerous awards during his career.

We're excited to have Brad rejoin us and share his political insight with readers.

Pioneer Editor Steve Wagner can be reached at (218) 333-9774 or email at

Steve Wagner

Grand Forks Herald Editor Steve Wagner can be reached at 701.780.1104 and He joined the Herald in April 2013, and previously worked as editor at the Bemidji (Minn.) Pioneer and in several roles -- including news director, investigative reporter and crime reporter - at The Forum of Fargo-Moorhead. His reporting experience includes coverage of Dru Sjodin's disappearance and the federal death penalty case for her murderer, Alfonso Rodriguez Jr., along with several investigative projects. In his spare time, Wagner is an avid runner and occasionally writes about his experiences on his blog, Addicted to Running.

(701) 780-1104