Last updated: July 17. 2014 7:29AM - 202 Views

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The old adage tells us not to judge a book by its cover, but you can usually make a sound judgment about a newspaper by taking a glance at its front page.

The stories and photographs your local paper selects and the way it presents them communicates their timeliness, relevance, interest and impact on people’s lives. It’s equal parts art and science — a skill we’re sharpening here at The Cheraw Chronicle this month.

The Chronicle is joining its sister Civitas Media newspapers in rolling out a redesign that will make Cheraw’s oldest continuously published weekly newspaper cleaner, brighter and more readable. Changes will take effect the week of July 22.

One of the first things you’ll notice is prominent previews of the week’s top community news stories above the Chronicle nameplate. We don’t think you should have to turn the page or thumb through the paper to find out how youth sports teams fared in the latest tournament or what we’re featuring on the front of the Community section. Starting this month, you won’t have to.

While form will still follow function — that is, the news of the week will dictate how the front page is designed — you’ll see more consistency in headline size and typography and the size and shape of photos. The crisp, modular design will help readers get a sense of what each edition has to offer and decide which stories to read first.

If our narrow columns of text and small type have caused eye strain, your squinting days are at an end. We’re increasing our type size for all news stories by a small but noticeable amount.

Obituaries will move from Page 5A to Page 2A. We believe it’s a vital public service to let you know who’s passed away and how you can pay your respects, so we’re putting obituary listings in a more prominent place to ensure that they’re easy to find.

Changes are also in store for local businesses that advertise their products and services in the Chronicle. We value each and every advertiser, and we’re offering better ad placement to make sure Chesterfield County businesses get the most exposure possible.

The paper offers unmatched value with print and online advertising bundles. Businesses can advertise on our redesigned website, www.TheCherawChronicle.com, and in the newspaper to reach customers whether they’re reading the latest news at the breakfast table, at the office or on their smartphones and tablets.

The Chronicle is also working to become more active on social media. Find our page on Facebook and click the “like” button to see local news updates in your Facebook news feed.

We’re working hard every day to bring you Cheraw and Chesterfield County news. Let us know how we’re doing — there is always room for improvement, and we want to know how we can serve you better. Call us at 843-537-5261 or email cfriedman@civitasmedia.com and kkissiah@civitasmedia.com to share your compliments, critiques, news tips and story ideas.

Thank you for reading and supporting your Cheraw Chronicle.

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