ProJo Redesign: Local, Local, Local

Those of you who still read the paper version of the Providence Journal - and there are some of us left - will notice a redesign today that speaks volumes about the direction of the newspaper industry.

Newspapers, under assault from the Internet, have become increasingly local creatures in a bid to remain relevant and profitable. And the new ProJo - rumored in media circles for weeks - takes the trend to its logical conclusion: folding the Rhode Island section - now known as projoRhode Island, in an explicit reference to the paper's online operation - into the A section and pushing much of the national news into a new B section known as projoNation.

The ProJo, like many American newspapers, has relied more and more on wire services for national news in recent years. And now, that becomes strikingly clear to the casual reader with a projoNation section that is composed, entirely, of work produced elsewhere.

This is but the latest, and most obvious, effort by executive editor Tom Heslin to reshape the paper for a new media landscape. The question is, can any shakeup - no matter how clever - keep the American newspaper viable?


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