Springfield, MO

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SBJ to sharpen its utilitarian edge

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Never forget The Point.

Around the editorial offices of the Springfield Business Journal, The Point is to provide content that is indispensable to folks conducting business in southwest Missouri.

If that belabors the obvious, so be it. Regular reminders of our reason for being serve to focus energy, drive decisions and facilitate planning.

In recent months I've begun to query our readers about what we provide them in the Business Journal. Each week I send out a short survey asking basic questions about our content.

The responses have been enlightening and helpful. Our lowest scores have consistently been recorded on the question asking if our content is essential to conducting business in this area.

It is an expensive conceit for me to believe that our content is a must-read just because I think so. I bask in the compliments from readers that say they consume the Business Journal cover-to-cover. But you read every word does not necessarily translate into the thought that what you've discovered is essential.

However, those compliments sometimes reveal the ways that readers utilize the Business Journal and help define our paper as essential. Part of our job is to preach that gospel, get the word out about how our content can be used and help readers easily see the utility of what we publish. The other part of our job is to change what we publish to fit those uses.

I know our readers put the information contained in On The Record to use. I know this clearly when glitches prevent us from publishing elements of that feature. When, for instance, a computer crash prevents us from running a week's worth of bankruptcy filings, our phones light up with credit managers throughout the area asking why we failed to include this essential information.

We should not hide our light under a bushel. Just because some readers have discovered the worth of this part of our paper doesn't mean everyone understands. We should make clear the uses of this information. We should present it in a format that makes it easy to put directly to use. We should constantly strive to find other sources of information that we can gather and disseminate that are useful.

And we will.

In our continuing effort to never forget The Point, we are in the midst of overhauling On The Record.

The design of the entire section will be reconsidered, as well as the presentation of each element. New information will be included (though, don't worry, no current information will be excluded).

The Point is, we want to make our content useful, nay, essential to you and your business.

If you have a suggestion for achieving that, call and tell me at 831-3238. If you don't speak up, you'll never be heard.

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