Beacon unveils redesign; readers irate and/or perplexed

By Max Fontaine | Hard news typography beat

Bass Lake Beacon has a new look, which may appeal to youthful readers like this one, who for some reason does not own a mobile device. (Earl Ginterrupted)
Bass Lake Beacon has a new look, which may appeal to youthful readers without access to a mobile device. (Earl Ginterrupted)

Bass Lake Beacon unveiled a fresh design this week, and reaction has been mixed — that is, mostly negative.

Jackson Frolic, senior editor at the Beacon, said the primary focus of the makeover is to provide  “(a) fresh, modern experience, more easily navigable and adaptable to the current news-devouring lifestyle of our devoted readership.”

At least one reader called to say she disagrees.

“I don’t even know what ‘navigable’ means,” she said in a voicemail.

A reader-feedback survey was inserted into random copies of the Beacon print edition, just prior to massive mailroom downsizing. Upwards of seven people returned the form to the Beacon office within less than several days.

Longtime reader Spigot Crawford, who lives next door to his twin brother, Tap, was beside himself.

“Why did you — why?” Crawford, 57, said. “I can’t even — I just can’t even.”

A stack of now-obsoletely designed Beacon print editions.
A stack of now-obsoletely designed Beacon print editions.

Another comment from the in-paper questionnaire came from short-time consumer P. Millie Smith, who suggested the spruced-up presentation system is too much of an otherwise good thing.

“You’ve ruined my life,” that person stated.

Not all readers are upset about the transition. Frequent reader Justine Samsonite has embraced the decision to upgrade.

“No, I has not,” Samsonite said.

Weathered stack of obsolete, long-forgotten record-keeping (ca. 1970-something)
Weathered stack of long-forgotten record-keeping, with laughable visuals (ca. 1970-something or before that, maybe)

The Beacon’s previous major design adjustment occurred in 2006, according to 76-year-old Beacon employee Heck Bansen, who is nearing retirement.

“I got hot-lead on my mind / linotype in my veins,” Bansen said. “That’s what my doctor subscribed.”

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