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updated: 1/13/2012 2:09 PM

Talk with the Editor: How goals make a difference

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I appreciate the suggestions some of you have offered for our goal setting for 2012, and I'd love to hear more.

Goals are important, and they do result in improvements in the newspaper.

Last year, we set out to more concretely represent our suburban expertise in the newspaper. From our standpoint, this is one of the main things what differentiates us from other news and information organizations that do stories out here -- that being a part of the community, we know and understand the suburbs in a way that the out-of-towners can't.

In setting this as a goal, we wanted in part to call attention to that expertise. But more importantly, we wanted to become more engaging to our audience, to do more reporting that you couldn't get anywhere else.

As a result of that goal, we launched a series of suburban columns that I think have greatly improved our coverage -- Jake Griffin's Suburban Tax Watchdog, Gire & Sotonoff's From Suburbs to Showbiz, Ferrarin & Pohl's Suburban Standouts, Lester & Riopell's Suburban Political Recount, the photo-driven Inside the Suburbs and the reinvention of two other columns, Burt Constable's Suburban Stories and Marni Pyke's The Suburbs in Transit.

I'm so pleased and impressed by the job those journalists are doing. I'm biased, of course, but I think their columns have been innovative, informative and entertaining. And it all started from one simple goal.

We had several other goals in 2011, and many resulted in measurable improvements too -- for example, more enterprising sports coverage, stronger local business coverage, developing a more intimate conversation with our audience and being more responsive to our readers' interests and concerns.

We'll be trying to finalize some goals for 2012 next week. Please pass along your ideas and perspectives. Thanks so much.

(We encourage you to talk with the editor by clicking on the Comments widget and providing your response to today's column. We want a provocative discussion but one that also abides by general rules of civility...Please also consider friending John on Facebook by searching John Lampinen Daily Herald and following him on Twitter @DHJohnLampinen)

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