Saturday, July 19, 2008

An Open Letter: I Don't Like Change!...

Dear TPTB @ Entertainment Weekly:

A few weeks ago, you guys seemed so excited to unveil a new, more modern, slightly sleeker layout. In fact, you were so tickled by it, you dedicated a full page in your precious publication to explaining the new features to us, the loyal readers. You seemed so proud, and so happy, with your accomplishments we couldn't help but smile a bit for you, too. Until we flipped to the back page and found the pop culture editorial was no longer there.

Now, I get it, guys: you don't want to bury the lead. You had to have been receiving hundreds upon dozens of letters from readers just like me praising the columnists we find there (I did not know who Mark Harris was, but I fell in love with him through his witty words and quirky cartoon headshot) and admitting we often flip to that page first.

And I gave it a few weeks; I did. I tried to get used to it; I didn’t want to jump down your throats just because I am stuck in my ways, but I cannot hold my tongue any longer. It was my routine on Friday evenings to pull the newest issue out of my mailbox and take it into a bubble bath in order to unwind from a long, tedious workweek. I would always read cover-to-cover, a ritual I cannot say I have been consistent in doing with other publications. Getting to the last page was a journey, with that column as my reward. I looked forward to it, excited to find out whose words I would be privileged with this week.

While that column still holds all of my dreams of the perfect entertainment writing gig, there’s just something lacking—some of the fun is gone—in coming to the grand finish dozens of pages too early. Sure, I could skip it and go back to it when I finish the rest of the sections, but it’s still not the same: I’d have to go backwards, flipping through stories to which I already knew the endings. There was something just inherently satisfying of knowing that back page would always be there, waiting for me, so I must make my plea to you here and now before this madness goes on any longer: I understand the desire to reinvent your design to compete with all of the other gossip weeklies, but please think of your loyal customers and fans-- ones who did not complain-- did not even whisper a word-- when you gave such a powerful piece to just an “it” writer of the moment-- ones who have scheduled plans around your product and are only asking for you to maintain a sense of tradition.

Editors, designers, and higher-ups at EW's parent company, you can keep the rest of your layout as it is now. You're right that it is pretty snazzy. Just please remove the "Must List" (slide it back in the middle of the magazine or dump it altogether; it's usually redundant anyway!) and put the Pop Watch piece back where it belongs!

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