Across the Universe: What changes do you envision for the Sun-Bonanza in 2016? | SierraSun.com

Across the Universe: What changes do you envision for the Sun-Bonanza in 2016?

If there's one thing I've learned over the years in the newspaper industry, it's that change can be a tough thing to embrace.

There's something about the concept of "we've always done it that way" that gives us a sense of security. We like to be set in our ways. We follow the same route to work. We visit the same websites for news, business and entertainment purposes. We cook our favorite meals a certain way. And so on … because if ain't broke, don't fix it, right?

We have a comfort zone, and we do not appreciate being bucked outside its familiar circle.

But oh, how the world is changing around us. Recently on our opinion pages, we've poked fun of this by way of editorial cartoons at how "kids these days" are receiving smartphones as holiday gifts, while simultaneously being too occupied with social media to ask with a level of respect that involves making eye contact, instead of staring at a screen.

In a different context, Monday evening I joined some friends for dinner at Manzanita Restaurant at The Ritz-Carlton, Lake Tahoe for the Monday locals special, and we soon found ourselves chatting on the topic of proper fine dining etiquette.

First off, I was born and raised in a small Michigan farm town as a meat-and-potatoes kind of guy, so learning all the tricks and the trades of fine dining — correct placement of forks and spoons on the table, adjusting a plate after a course has been served, etc. — has been an acquired taste over the years.

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But as I peered across the restaurant at the dress and demeanor of other patrons, I made the observation that people in our age group of low- to mid-30s clearly focused less attention to that kind of thing, versus those who grew up in an "older generation."

We were raised in a different era, I suppose, and it was obvious that the conversation at our table was louder than others nearby, the clinking and clanging of silverware and forks was louder, and the laughter was louder and more frequent.

Is that good or bad? Obviously, it depends on who you ask, and with whom you care to listen. The key, though, is to properly listen to and appreciate the feedback received, and to offer equal levels of constructive criticism in return.

It's one thing to scoff at "kids these days" or to bemoan the "older generation" — but it's beneficial to everyone to embrace what changes have led to these differences and offer (not scoff at) ideas to move forward and adjust to the times.

With all that said, we in the newspaper industry are no different, and forward-thinking evolution is a constant topic in our newsroom. So I offer readers the following question: If the Sierra Sun and North Lake Tahoe Bonanza could change one thing in the next 12 months, what should it change?

It could be change to offerings in the print edition, or how we display news on SierraSun.com, or how you use our Sierra Sun app on your smartphone or tablet. It could be change to how we answer the phones, change to which areas of news we cover, or even change to how we decorate the outside of our offices.

As editor of Sun-Bonanza, it's my duty to regularly seek feedback on our business, and to provide the opportunity to help guide change as we look to embrace what 2016 has to offer.

I look forward to hearing your ideas, and pledge to embrace them with an open mind. So, in the theme of this week's new Star Wars movie premiere, may the force be with you … and, with us, too.

Kevin MacMillan is managing editor of the Sierra Sun and North Lake Tahoe Bonanza. He may be reached for comment at kmacmillan@sierrasun.com.