Vancouver
3 min

Welcome to the new and improved Xtra West

Change is good

I have to admit I’m a creature of habit. So when my publisher first struck a committee to contemplate possible revisions to the paper a few months ago, I was less than enthusiastic.

“But the paper’s great the way it is,” I protested. “Why mess with a good thing?”

Why indeed?

Fast-forward a couple of months. I have now come to realize (again) that change is healthy. It’s a lesson I have to re-learn on a regular basis.

It goes something like this: Change doesn’t have to be threatening (or so my therapists tell me). In fact, taking honest stock of our strengths and weaknesses, whether we’re people or papers, is always a good thing. It’s the first step towards self-improvement. And who among us has nothing to improve? I don’t know. Don’t look at me.

And don’t look at Xtra West.

Don’t get me wrong, we haven’t lost sight of our strengths. We are still totally devoted to being your source of reliable, accurate and challenging news by and for the community.

We still fully intend to nurture and record our community’s growth, scrutinize our weaknesses, shine a spotlight on our opponents, chronicle our victories, explore our culture and celebrate our heroes.

We can and will continue to do all that-even as we expand other areas of our coverage. Because there’s always room for improvement in all facets of our lives and the paper is no exception.

Welcome, then, to the new and improved Xtra West.

You challenged us to grow and we responded. And we can’t tell you how much we appreciate your feedback.

You asked, for example, for more coverage of community get-togethers, parties and events. And we listened.

We are now proud to present In the Mix, our new photo page dedicated to capturing all of us just being ourselves.

It’s about who we are, how we play and how we live our lives. It’s about the places we congregate to play in, to laugh, to cruise, to dance, to strut, to work out, to make out, to make love, to fundraise, to protest, to party, to recharge, to remember and simply to be.

It’s about you.

It’s about all of us.

It’s about time!

And that’s not all. To your immediate left you’ll find our revamped letters section. We’ve expanded the space to give you more room to have your say, share your thoughts, connect with each other and debate the things that are important to you. So keep those letters coming!

Turning to page seven, you’ll find our bold new look for news. It’s the same standard of news you’ve hopefully come to rely on, with an added visual punch.

But the changes to the news section go beyond the aesthetic. You’ll also find two brand new features.

You asked us for more international news and you got it. It is our pleasure to introduce Global Briefs, featuring queer news from around the world. You can thank our new editor/staff reporter Matt Mills for breathing life into that one.

You can also thank him for resurrecting our history and reminding us all where we came from, what we’ve endured and what we’ve built along the way. If you’re looking for him, he’s probably poring over some community archives or searching for some lost snapshots for our new In Hindsight column.

And speaking of columns, we also have two new views columns scheduled to start next issue, so stay tuned.

And that brings me to our listings.

Last December, our listings coordinator, Mark Kowalk, test-ran a new day-by-day format for our events calendar-and you loved it. People actually called and emailed to tell us how great an improvement it was, and how much easier and more appealing the new format was to use.

So we listened, of course, and redesigned the page accordingly.

And we are now very proud to present our new and improved, revamped and expanded, day-by-day Out in the City listings.

We hope you’ll like all the changes we’ve made. They’ve been months in the making and I can honestly say I think they’ve all been worth it. And they wouldn’t have been possible without you.