Big Changes for Business News in Richmond

Business news is changing in Richmond, Va., and that’s good news, especially if you’re an information junkie like me. 

In today’s shifting media landscape, which has been challenged by new digital platforms and declining ad dollars, our hometown paper in Virginia’s capital city just launched some big changes on the business news front.  

Telling the rest of the story

At the Richmond Times-Dispatch today, business news moved out of the Metro section and is getting its own front section.

Add to that a fourth page of business content from Tuesday through Saturday, and readers now can “get the rest of the story” to quote the late radio news icon Paul Harvey.

On a side note, I once pitched Harvey on a story idea for a client, the Experimental Aircraft Association, related to the 100th anniversary of flight in 2003. Even with millions of listeners, this iconic newsman answered his own phone, listened to my rambling pitch and ultimately included it in his report.  

More space = more local business stories

From what I’ve seen from today’s Times-Dispatch, its new “D” Business section deserves an “A.” This new format creates more opportunities for business features, a daily business calendar and even business license information for Richmond and surrounding counties. Who doesn’t like reading about new businesses, and their creative names like Spot-on-Spot Dog Training LLC? Yes, that’s a real one from page D4 of today’s Times-Dispatch.

The large ad on the front of the business section balances keeping the advertisers happy and connected with today’s fickle readers. Speaking of ads, the new “Homes” and “Drives” advertising sections on Saturday create even more opportunities from an advertising and editorial standpoint. 

In recent years, I’ve been a fan of expanded local business news. Last fall, when I suggested to an editor of a popular weekly Richmond publication that his outlet should consider regular business news coverage, he tweeted back asking where the advertisers are.

On Sunday, when I tweeted about the changes to the paper, one of my friends tweeted back, “Making good on mistake they made five years ago.”

Looking back at the paper’s decision to pull back on business coverage years ago is easy to criticize today, but the reality is the Times-Dispatch had to do what it needed to do for survival. With papers and news outlets closing up shop around the country, including the Blue Ridge Business Journal in Roanoke, Va., I’m delighted with the recent changes at the Times-Dispatch.

In fact, I'm relieved Media General has stayed the course, tried new approaches and invested in the future of journalism.

Like many media outlets, the Times-Dispatch is figuring out what’s next.

Its new iPad format - TD-Digital - is another example of innovation in news delivery.

The techie in me loves the idea, but as a former Richmond News Leader delivery boy, I still like the feel of black ink and the broadsheet.

Jonathan Rhudy subscribes to entirely too many magazines and is addicted to the Huffington Post’s entertainment section. After all, business news can only be so much fun.