A letter from the executive editor

Sunday, October 18, 2009; 11:26 PM

In an age defined by ever faster and more abundant information, the newspaper you hold in your hands is a model of simplicity.

Within these pages, you can learn about schools, religion, transportation, crime, politics and other issues vital to your community. You can find out what's happening on Capitol Hill or at the White House, in the nation and around the world, in health and science, in sports or business, and in the arts. We profile the famous and the infamous. We entertain you with puzzles and comics. We inform, enlighten and sometimes (perhaps) agitate you with our opinions and others' perspectives. We list movies, restaurants, galleries and destinations and recommend those we think best. And we tell you whether to bring an umbrella or a sunhat if you do go out.

A newspaper remains just about the best, most relevant package of news and information you'll find in any community. Today, we're making some changes to the design of The Washington Post that will make that package even easier to read, faster to navigate and more essential to you.

We know you get information from myriad sources throughout the day, so we're putting greater emphasis on original journalism that tells you not only what happened yesterday but also what it means and what's coming next. We know you're busy, so we're layering in more information in headlines and labeling sections for faster navigation. We know your interests are wide, so we've created section-front marquees to let you know what's inside. And we're using more graphics and other visual elements to tell big, complex stories, a recognition that the digital world has changed expectations and enabled us to do more.

You might notice that the typeface we use in our columns is a little bit easier to read. It's an upgrade of Scotch Roman, a typeface used in newspapers since the nineteenth century, redrawn for clearer reproduction.

This guide describes the new features we're introducing and explains the enhancements we've made throughout the paper. These improvements reflect our deep belief in the important role The Post plays in Washington and the surrounding communities. The print edition of The Post reaches a higher percentage of households in its circulation area than any other major metropolitan newspaper. And, as our publisher, Katharine Weymouth, explains in her letter above, our team of reporters, editors and designers is putting its focus on how we can serve this community better.

Underlying everything we do is The Post's journalistic mission. We believe in holding powerful institutions to account and in giving citizens the information they need to evaluate their leaders and make good decisions in a democracy. Just take a look at today's remarkable front-page story about local programs meant to support AIDS victims. We're as committed as ever to the kinds of ambitious journalism that have made The Post one of the world's great newspapers.

For 132 years, The Washington Post has brought readers of the capital city a tightly edited and well-organized daily briefing of news, analysis and insight. Today's enhancements are meant to make it even better. We welcome your feedback and look forward to hearing your comments at ideas@washpost.com.


Marcus W. Brauchli

© 2009 The Washington Post Company