So, yeah, you might have noticed some differences this week.
Not only have we made the move to a tall tabloid size to match our sister publications throughout Observer Media Group, but also, we’ve adopted the design changes those papers pioneered earlier this year.
We’re pretty excited about it.
Oh, and then there’s the whole new newspaper thing — today marks the first edition of the Windermere Observer — and I’ve got to be honest: We’re pretty darn excited about that, too.
In a nutshell, we’ve split our former coverage area for the West Orange Times & Observer into two newspapers; with the Times & Observer area encompassing Oakland, Winter Garden and Ocoee and the new Windermere paper serving Southwest Orange County — including Windermere, Dr. Phillips, Horizon West, MetroWest and Gotha.
We think this will allow us to do our jobs better, and as far as sports are concerned, we hope we’ll be able to give you even more of the great prep and local sports coverage you’ve come to expect.
Instead of one sports section with eight high schools to follow, you will now have two sections with four schools each — and we’re working hard to make sure that translates into more coverage for more sports and even some additional middle-school and youth sports coverage.
Of course, if we’re going to be splitting our eight schools into two separate coverage areas, we should probably let you know what’s going where — and I will.
But first, I just want to note that all of our great high school sports coverage will be available centrally online at wotimes.com (the two newspapers will share one website), and our current Facebook page (Observer Preps) and Twitter account (@ObserverPreps) will cover the sports sections for both papers.
Now, the split.
Most of this is pretty obvious — Dr. Phillips, Windermere Prep and Olympia will, of course, be in the Windermere Observer, while Ocoee, Legacy Charter and West Orange High will be in the West Orange Times & Observer.
CFCA and Foundation Academy got a little tricker, though, given their locations relative to the new borders, but we feel good about our decision to include CFCA with the Windermere paper and Foundation with the West Orange Times & Observer.
For middle schools, we tentatively have the West Orange Times serving Bridgewater, Lakeview, SunRidge, Ocoee, Foundation Academy and Legacy Charter, while the Windermere Observer will cover Southwest, Chain of Lakes, Gotha, Windermere Prep, CFCA and Holy Family Catholic.
Now, one of the great things about being a part of the Observer Media Group — a small, family-run chain of newspapers — is the flexibility it provides. Although we’ve decided on giving each school’s sports teams a “home paper,” we expect some overlap in the two publications, and we will handle that as best we can, in what will be an evolving process, and we think our central website and free print product model will help with some of this, too.
This is a new and exciting direction for us, but we also know there might be a false start or two along the way. That’s OK. If you have any questions or concerns about how our sports coverage is changing, my email address is [email protected].
Also, this seems as good a time as any to remind any of our readers — whether you’re a parent, a coach, a school administrator or just a fan — that sports story ideas are always welcome to be sent to that same email address.
We’re growing, we’re excited and we’re confident the end result will continue to be the best local sports coverage in Central Florida and beyond.