You may notice that this page looks a little different today. Thats because we decided to shake up our op-ed section a little bit to give our readers an even wider range of opinions and even more reasons to scratch their heads.
Revamped editorial page, expanded news coverage offer more for readers
First, and most obvious, is the lead editorial, which now tops the page. Theres no reason to scroll down to read what Neil McLaughlin, our managing editor; David May, our features editor; and I think about whats happening in healthcare. Second, we increased the hole for our Other Voices feature so readers can hear more of what other publications are saying about healthcare. Third, we reduced the size and frequency of our editorial cartoon. Alternating with the editorial cartoon in that space will be excerpts from exclusive and ever-expanding op-ed content appearing on our Web site, Modern Healthcare Online at modernhealthcare.com. For example, our Essays on Reform series on the site now sports nine columns, and wed like to highlight some of the more thought-provoking passages from those pieces on this page.
In January, I mentioned in this space that we were starting a weekend and holiday news service on our Web site, and it turns out that our timing couldnt have been better. Some of the big stories that broke this past quarter on the weekends included Tom Daschles tax problems, Kathleen Sebelius nomination as the new HHS secretary and the appointment of Margaret Hamburg as the new Food and Drug Administration commissioner.
And to paraphrase a movie cliche, if you report it, they will read. The average weekend page impressions on our site, which are a measure of how much people are viewing a Web site, jumped 85% in January and February of this year compared with the same period last year. If youre not visiting our site on Saturdays, Sundays and holidays, youll be missing out on a lot of important healthcare business and policy news.
But, well also go where the news is. Perhaps youve noticed that many big business deals and tough personnel decisions are announced around 6 a.m. weekday mornings. Those announcements are timed to avoid being in the morning newspapers yet made in time to influence the financial markets in the day ahead.
Consequently, in addition to our weekend and holiday news service, weve started an early shift news rotation in our newsroom in Chicago. Weve got at least one reporter and one editor hearing their alarm clocks go off at 5 a.m. and being at their posts no later than 7 a.m. We started that last month, and, again, our timing couldnt have been better.
Two of the biggest pharmaceutical company mergersMerck & Co. buying Schering-Plough Corp. and Roche Holding buying Genentechwere announced when most people were sleeping. So was news of David Blumenthal being named as the new national coordinator for health information technology at HHS. All of those stories were up on our site before most people had their first cup of coffee. (Coffee has since become the most valued commodity in our newsroom.)
All of this, of course, drives the increasingly sophisticated and compelling coverage in our flagship weekly print edition, which has become an even more essential read for top healthcare executives. Each week, we make sense of everything that has happened over the past seven days, analyze and predict whats going to happen in the weeks ahead and leadand challengereader opinion on the issues shaping the healthcare industry. We remain more committed than ever to our weekly print frequency as readers tell us they cant wait a month or more for news and information that are crucial to the success of their healthcare organizations. Thats what our readers want, and thats what well continue to deliver.
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