Our quest: Provide useful information - East Valley Tribune: Opinion

Our quest: Provide useful information

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Posted: Wednesday, August 16, 2006 6:35 am | Updated: 3:08 pm, Fri Oct 7, 2011.

We at the Tribune love telling people stories because it brings out the best in our skills as writers, and sometimes we can make a difference in people’s lives.

Investigative reports often win us awards given out by other journalists, test our skills as reporters and can make a difference in a community’s well-being.

But our bedrock is giving you information that you can put to use. We fail at this and all the journalism awards on our shelves mean nothing.

It is information that gives you an edge in business or in taking care of your money.

It’s information that helps steer you in the right direction when it comes to having a good time when you go out.

It’s information that helps you figure out what’s happening to your property values, what freeways are going to be shut down for the weekend or where to get the best value for your buck in buying your child a back-to-school backpack.

It’s information that gives you an edge at the water cooler — when the topic

turns to who should start as the Cardinals’ quarterback or the new restaurant in your neighborhood.

We’re rich in such information. But are we rich enough?

REGULAR FEATURES

I need to spend more time working the puzzle of how we can do a better job of providing you with information, either in the printed Tribune or on our Web site.

You can help.

What information is truly useful that we can provide either in print or on the Web?

The other day, a new reader complained that we don’t run crime logs or restaurant inspection reports or gas prices. We don’t, the other paper does. Should we? You tell me. Or is that information readily available through the Internet?

Other readers have come to us because the Phoenix paper quit running stocks. Yet there are surely more efficient and timely ways of getting stock prices on the Internet.

I don’t need to share any more of my angst with you.

Rather, I do want to share some areas in which I hope that you agree the Trib excels.

• Our At Home section runs every Saturday and is a superb desert southwest home and garden publication.

• Our Retail Corridor column, which runs on the business section front every Thursday, helps you keep up with restaurant and store openings and closings.

• Our Get in the Game column every Wednesday on the East Valley Recreation page in the Sports section reports on adult and youth recreation information.

• Our Getting There column every Monday helps track what’s going on with our roads and, I hope, gives commuters an edge.

• On Sundays in our business section, we publish “Wall Street Journal Sunday.” It’s got a lot of ideas and information for Boomers like me trying to figure out if they will ever be able to afford retirement or for just about anybody who knows the importance of money.

• We run church news every Saturday in our exclusive Spiritual Life section.

• Our Get Out magazine and Getoutaz.com Web site are loaded with information about restaurants and plays and movies and clubs and music events. You get the information and you get our take on the events and the places.

TRUSTED CONTENT

When “Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest” made its debut, I wanted to take my wife out on a date, but didn’t want to fight the movie crowds.

That Saturday morning I had read Tribune theater critic Chris Page’s B+ review of Encore Theater’s “Blithe Spirit” at the Mesa Arts Center and serendipity struck.

Late that afternoon, I dropped by the box office only to find that others had read the review and ticket sales were brisk. Fortunately, a few tickets were left. We went and had a great time.

Tribune/Get Out restaurant critic Crystal Petrocelli’s reports and reviews are regularly the most read material on Getoutaz.com.

Every Sunday on page 2 of our Arts and Life section, we scope out the entertainment and activity week for you in our weekly calendar.

On Tuesdays through Saturdays, we run community events calendars on our “your space” page—usually A4. On Saturdays in “your space,” you’ll also find reader submitted favorite places in the East Valley.

You’ll find out that eating out is a favorite thing to do for a lot of readers.

Besides the regular features, we do several one-offs with readers in mind.

In our July Back to School special section, we did our best at counseling parents on practical issues. Want to know what is the best backpack for the buck and a kid’s back? We answered the question.

Want to know alternatives to packing peanut butter and jelly sandwiches in your kid’s lunch? We consulted a nutritionist and shared her advice.

Yes, you can track down some of this information through Google and blogs and wannabe news sites. But can you trust it?

When it comes to local information designed to give you an edge, my expectation is that the Trib and its weekly entertainment supplement, Get Out, will be your most reliable sources.

What’s your expectation?

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