Welcome to the new Gambit Weekly ... er ... The Gambit.
You're holding in your hands the former Gambit Weekly ... now known as simply The Gambit. It's the third name change for the paper, which began in 1981 as just Gambit and changed to Gambit Weekly in 1996. With the rise of the Web (and our daily content on Blogofneworleans.com), we're no longer just a weekly paper ... but we're really changing our name because everyone in town has always just called us The Gambit, and so The Gambit we are.
No doubt you've noticed our new size, format, and cover treatment. We've joined nearly every other paper in the country in trimming our size. With the resizing, though, we've also taken the opportunity to freshen up our design (thank you, production director Dora Sison and assistant Amy Morvant). Some of the changes you may notice:
• Our News & Views section is livelier. Political analyst Clancy DuBos still anchors our coverage, along with Jeremy Alford reporting from Baton Rouge and our political gossip column, Scuttlebutt. We've also added an interactive weekly poll, "This or That?," where readers can go on our Web site to vote on current issues. Cartoonist Greg Peters' Suspect Device will appear every other week, as will Bunny Matthews' Vic 'n' Nat'ly (you'll find it in the Classifieds section).
• Our Arts & Entertainment section has been completely redesigned, with more critics' picks and a weekly A&E feature focusing on different aspects of the Crescent City — visual arts, music, film, dance, theater and performance.
• Our Listings, always comprehensive, now feature expanded writeups with the labels Review, Preview and Spotlight. With our smaller paper, the challenge was to retain coverage of all aspects of the arts. This meant eliminating some familiar columns while adding shorter — but more numerous — writeups in the listings section. We know this is the most controversial part of the redesign; we've already heard from readers about it, and no doubt we'll hear more.
Meanwhile, we have some new features we think you will like:
• A new monthly section, "Green Matters," with features, tips and Q&As, will report on New Orleans' attempts to live sustainably.
• Longtime Gambit music writer Alison Fensterstock presents "Go Ask Alison," spotlighting the best in New Orleans music and nightlife.
• New to our Cuisine page: "5 in Five," spotlighting frugal food finds, alongside restaurant reviews by Ian McNulty and wine advice from Brenda Maitland.
• We've added master crossword constructor Merl Reagle to our Puzzle Page. Merl's pun-filled puzzles appear in papers including The New York Observer and the San Francisco Chronicle, and his fans include Bill Clinton and Jon Stewart. In November, Merl received the ultimate pop-culture accolade when he appeared as himself (in cartoon form) on The Simpsons. The Gambit is proud to be the only Louisiana paper to publish Merl's devilish puzzles.
• You can also find our content on Twitter, MySpace and Facebook. And if you haven't checked out our all-new, redesigned Web site, www.bestofneworleans.com, we think you'll like it ... especially the searchable listings.
As we adapt to the new economic realities of the newspaper business, we're proud of this: We're managing this transition without substituting syndicated content in place of local stories on local topics, written by and for the people in our community.
"Almost 15 years ago, we chose the parent company name Gambit Communications, Inc., in anticipation of this very day — a day when a media company must be flexible and innovative about delivering the news," said Gambit publisher Margo DuBos. "It is a new day in journalism, and that means we have to be more than a weekly newspaper. While we remain committed to the heritage and future of our print product with our new design and format, we also embrace the exciting opportunities that our blog and Web site offer to our readers. Above all, at the heart of everything we do at The Gambit, we have a passion for New Orleans. That will never change."
Let us know what you think (we know you will). Welcome to The Gambit.