Another sign of old age is writing letters to the editor.
Subject: Fewer comics, reduced readability & convenience.
I'm writing because I'm hoping that you will reconsider the decision to do away with the tabloid format for the daily features section of the Herald-Leader. I found that the tabloid was much easier to find each day -- now the features section is just like the rest of the paper, and harder to find, now that you've done away with the letter labels for the section.
The Jumble and the Crossword are now on two separate pieces of the paper -- doing away with the possibility of sharing out the comics while retaining the puzzle page. And You've moved Ann Landers completely off the comics pages, where the column has appeared for years.
The new format for displaying theatre information is atrocious. There is less information included, and the new layout makes it harder to scan through quickly. I'm hoping that the decision to retain The Weekender in tabloid format will mean that there is at least one day a week with the much easier to read, and more informational tabular layout.
I disagree entirely about the readability of the new type-face. Darker type means a greater tendency for the bits of the letters to run together, and requires a stronger reading light to be seen. My mother has commented for years now about the ease with which she can read the Herald-Leader. She hasn't in the past needed to don her reading glasses to see the typeface. The redesign with darker type means less white space within the font-face, which translates into more blurring, which will necessitate reading glasses. In the "Reader's Guide to the redesigned Herald-Leader," the comparison "old serif headline" didn't even print in my edition of Sunday's paper.
I'm disappointed to see that you have not searched for any suitable replacement to Crabby Road, now that the strip is being discontinued, or for that matter, taken this opportunity to review the number of daily strips that the paper offers. The new format serves only to emphasize the paucity of comics in the Herald-Leader, relative to papers in cities of comparable size and affluence.
I find an unfortunately Orwellian double-speak in the apologia that I have read so far about your new appearance. "Are you giving us less news?" "Not really." The answer should be either a straight yes or no. "Not really" equates out to "yes, but we're packaging it to look like the same amount" in my book.
The effect of putting three decks of head-lines on the front page is to push more of the real news either further into the paper, or out of it altogether. The travesty of putting promotional spots for soft news directly under the banner reduces the "above the fold" headlines to a mediocrity.
"Newspapers everywhere" are doing it? Welcome to a daily publishing as pioneered by USA Today.
At least try to publish the truth. You've decided to save money by moving to a smaller sized page. And to facilitate it, you've reduced the information content and convenience to the customer.