Tuesday, May 30, 2006

health magazine: USA Weekend offers hipper news, focus on community

Next Sunday you'll find a different Sunday magazine in your Herald-Republic.
We're adding USA Weekend after decades of offering Parade. And we hope you'll take the time to read the new magazine and let us know what you think.

This has been a tough decision, simply because of our history with Parade, which is included in more than 370 newspapers nationwide. But USA Weekend, which is a part of 600 newspapers across the country, made us an offer we just couldn't refuse.

The first part of that offer was content: the articles, columns, photos and contests that make up the magazine every week. Next week's edition, for example, is a special partnership with Men's Health magazine to look at men's widening waistlines and why they should be concerned.

There's also a feature on six great roller-coaster rides and tips on being a gracious guest.

And yes, there's celebrity news (even for those of us who don't admit to reading it).

Then, on Sunday, June 25, you'll find an extra special USA Weekend in your newspaper. That one will include an 11-by-19-inch poster of the new Superman, Brandon Routh.

Many readers find USA Weekend a little fresher, a little hipper, a little more fun to read. I do, and hope you do, too.

The second part of its appealing offer was USA Weekend's commitment to Newspaper in Education programs.

NIE is the name for programs that put daily newspapers in classrooms. At the Herald-Republic, that amounts to about 40,000 copies of the newspaper a month distributed to more than 220 schools throughout the Yakima Valley.

In addition to financing to help pay for those papers, USA Weekend also will provide weekly teaching guides and other materials that can be downloaded free of charge from its Web site.

(Teachers who are interested in learning more about NIE should contact Robin Beckett at 577-7731 or rbeckett@yakima

Our third reason for adding USA Weekend was its Make A Difference Day program, which on Oct. 28 this year is celebrating its 16th anniversary.

Make A Difference Day was designed as a celebration of neighbors helping neighbors and is now the largest national day of helping others, with hundreds of registered projects across the country. Most are in communities served by USA Weekend, but that's not a requirement.

For the 2005 Make A Difference Day, for example, there were 22 communities throughout Washington state that registered on the national Web site (www.makea

Their projects included a community garden cleanup in Tonasket, fundraising efforts to buy pet food for the Everett Animal Shelter, a blood drive in Silverdale and 4-H'ers sewing book bags in Walla Walla.

In April, 10 projects are selected from those registered to win $10,000 each from actor and philanthropist Paul Newman, who donates all
after-tax profits from sales of Newman's Own products to educational and charitable purposes.

Those 10 honorees, plus hundreds of other local projects, are then featured in an April edition of the Sunday magazine.

There has been a Make A Difference Day event in Yakima — a dinner at the Southeast Yakima Community Center to honor local volunteers — but it has not been affiliated with the national event.

We'd hope that can change, and we hope other local organizations and individuals will also join in.

A final reason we made the change was fin-ancial. USA Weekend simply was a better deal, and that's important as we — like every business — looks at keeping costs
in line.

But without the other three reasons, the fourth wouldn't have mattered.

So I hope you enjoy our new Sunday magazine. It's a good change for us, for you and, we believe, for our community.

* Sarah Jenkins is editor of the Yakima Herald-Republic. If you have a question or concern, you can reach her at 577-7703; P.O. Box 9668, Yakima, WA 98909; or sjenkins@yakimaherald.com.