At the ProJo: The Truth

Last week, I wrote in this space about the Providence Journal making its move: a new web site soon to be unveiled, the long-discussed pay wall soon to be erected, a Groupon-style deals service launching.

Today, with a wraparound on the front section of the paper-and-ink version, the ProJo announces some of the changes and adds this tagline: "We Work for the Truth."

"For us," the paper intones, in a disembodied voice that sounds an awful lot like executive editor Tom Heslin, "the truth is not an abstract concept. It is our boss."

This reverence for an old-fashioned concept - "truth" - is in keeping with a central message in today's announcement: an assurance that, for all the changes afoot, the ProJo will stick to its 182-year-old commitment to old-fashioned journalism: "We are still the chroniclers. The watchdogs. The cheerleaders. The whistle-blowers. The storytellers."

This commitment to tradition seems reflected even in the new design of the print product: a cleaner, more stripped-down look that, I'm told, will be reflected in the paper's new, soon-to-launch web site:

This tension between old and new is at the heart of the paper's push to survive and flourish in an increasingly difficult climate for traditional media. To date, the paper has struggled to push deep enough into the new. We'll see, in the coming weeks, if that changes.


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