News Columns & Blogs

A guide to some changes this week, and a trip with 70-year-old twins

Change is rarely easy, and we’ve all had more than our fair share in the past year. So I’m taking a deep breath as I pick up the proverbial pen here to outline more changes, starting this week in your Bradenton Herald.

I’ll cut to the chase: We’re combining some sections and moving some features to save newsprint. Why?

My editorial budget has three major expenses: wire services, newsprint and people. And until the economy improves, we’re tightening our belt like everyone else.

These changes saved a few jobs in our newsroom — jobs we believe are vital to covering the news and events in this community. I hope that helps you embrace our changes a little easier. We need your help and support, just like all the other local businesses and community service groups.

Here’s a look at the changes:

n Starting Tuesday, the daily Business section will be combined with the Local section. Economic news remains the No. 1 story in most of our lives, so we looked for ways to make sure we had more space for local business coverage, even as we tightened the paper.

n We’re condensing the Money & Markets agate to one page, highlighting stocks of local interest, top earnings reports, dividends, foreign exchange funds, the top 500 NYSE stocks and the top 500 mutual funds. Many newspapers have eliminated daily listings all together, but readers have told us they still have keen interest in the information on this page.

n The popular society and community pages — “People” and “Your Community. Your News” — move to the daily features sections.

n The daily TV grid will now be anchored in those features sections.

n Classifieds will be combined with Accent on Tuesday and Wednesday.

To help you find everything more easily, we’ve redesigned the index on Page 1A. That started today, with bigger, bolder page numbers and refers.

We welcome your thoughts and feedback as we work through these challenging times to provide the best local news coverage and community content in Manatee County.

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I received a charming e-mail last weekend from Mary Bender, a Bradenton Herald subscriber and Palmetto resident. She humbly introduced herself in an e-mail — from Southern France. And what an adventure she has to share!

Mary and her twin sister, Martha Jansen, are celebrating their 70th birthday together. And they’re doing that in grand style, traveling for three months in Europe.

I joined them through their blog in the town of Goult, where they had discovered a rare 15th-century windmill. They wrote that they had come across this town in Provence only by accident — “we were trying to find our way back to L’Isle Sur La Sorgue ...”

A couple of e-mails later, and we were linked. I even made their blog — Mary, she wrote, “was so surprised to hear from Joan at the Bradenton Herald, our local newspaper, whom I had sent a short note and picture of us at the Windmill yesterday hoping that she would publish it in the travel section of our newspaper. ... Would be so exciting if she does include some of our writings in the travel section.”

I picked up the phone Friday, and there was Mary on the other end. She and Martha had just left the Vatican in Rome. But she seemed almost as excited about talking with her local newspaper as making plans to head off for Naples.

So, with their blessing, we’re introducing the Traveling Twins on today’s Travel section (Page 8E) and on

“Make sure you check out Martha’s longer journals — she’s a much better writer,” Mary urged. “I write just like I’m talking to you.”

Well, it has been a great conversation so far. And I’m looking forward to traveling with them the next two months. They’ll be back in Rome to celebrate Easter Sunday. After that, they leave for three weeks roaming Northern France, paving the way to spend an entire week in Paris.

Check out Mary’s and Martha’s blogs on and I can almost guarantee you’ll find yourself transplanted — and smiling along with these 70-year-young adventurers.

Joan Krauter, executive editor, can be reached at 941-748-0411, ext. 2000.