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Jana Adkins: Change is a-coming to Business

Signal Business Editor

Posted: March 6, 2011 1:55 a.m.
Updated: March 6, 2011 1:55 a.m.

After six months as business editor, I’m beginning to wear the job much more comfortably then when I “first tried it on.”

There is absolutely nothing in the world that quite prepares one for the shock of planning, creating and publishing brand-new content on a daily basis under the unrelenting threat of deadline.

Yes, I said threat.

Mind you, I would never compare daily deadlines to the perils of armed combat in service of our country. My father was a decorated Marine and veteran of the Korean War.

But I am willing to venture that for a novice like myself, the pressure of starting over from scratch on a daily basis comes close to a threat.

Actually, sometimes it’s closer to terror — especially on those slow news days, or days when there is insufficient space to publish a story in its entirety.

Of course, that’s why I’m so fortunate to have a talented executive editor who re-crafts my sometimes long-winded stories and deftly turns them into a “series.” In the business world, this is called repurposing — a word I’m not supposed to use in the news world because it’s considered jargon.

Until I began this job, I didn’t realize I had forgotten how to speak my native language without using business terms as shortcuts for lengthy explanations.

Before this column turns into a series itself, however, I need to get to my point.

Change is a good thing
The eclectic pop artist Andy Warhol was quoted as saying: “They always say time changes things, but you actually have to change them yourself.”

This is a concept I embraced when I accepted my position. As a longtime subscriber and reader of The Signal, I knew many of the changes I wanted to introduce to the business section.

And I’ve been very lucky to work with a supportive newspaper leadership team that allows me the freedom to make these changes.

Local stories now account for more than 80 percent of the Business coverage. We introduced a host of daily features along with a Sunday Business section. Readers are submitting their favorite books for the weekly Book Synopsis. And we’ve introduced new business columnists to the newspaper as well.

So far, the reception has been good, and the positive feedback has allowed me to reduce my personal “threat” level from red to yellow.

Change is good and more is on its way.

This month, readers will be introduced to more new columns and columnists covering topics like website design and setup, real estate and homeowners associations. Some columnists are inviting questions from readers, which always makes the content that much more enjoyable to read.

One final note, readers continuing to interact and comment on the changes in the Business section should help lower the threat level even further.

I’ll still be under the pressure of daily deadlines, but at least I’ll know it’s in service to you — the reader.

Watch for the new columns to debut the week of March 13 and continue throughout the month.

Jana Adkins is business editor of The Signal and a former business operations manager with the Los Angeles Times. She can be e-mailed at


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