Business section gets new features, tailored listings

To our readers

June 20, 2006|By BERNIE KOHN | BERNIE KOHN,SUN BUSINESS EDITOR

You will see a number of changes in today's Business section - starting with the banner at the top of this page.

Our new Tuesday "Your Money" page, on page 5, features a second weekly column by The Sun's Eileen Ambrose. We will have destination pages on other topics later in the week.

To make room for this new content, we are condensing our daily financial markets report from two pages to one. This report emphasizes information on stocks of Maryland-based companies and major state employers, and on mutual funds managed by Baltimore-area fund companies, banks and boutique firms.

Local stocks and funds appear in larger type than the previous agate information and contain more information. We're keeping a consolidated list of stocks on the broader markets, although the number of daily listings will be about 40 percent of what we previously listed. If your stock doesn't appear, you can request it by e-mailing stocks@baltsun.com or calling 410-332-6400.

We have discontinued daily listings of mutual funds, other than the local funds and the 30 most widely held funds, and will use that space for our new content.

This move is in part a recognition that mutual funds are long-term investments - held by most people in retirement accounts - where day-to-day fluctuations are not that significant. Within the local mutual funds list, we will list only the most widely held share class (usually Class A) for each fund.

Our four-page weekend markets package on Saturday, which contains listings of more than 1,600 mutual funds and 3,400 stocks, will be little changed.

Numerous other newspapers, including The New York Times, Chicago Tribune and The Boston Globe, have substantially reduced or eliminated market listings in their print editions in recent months, particularly on weekdays. Newsprint savings are a big part of the reason. But newspapers also are recognizing that most readers have turned to financial Web sites for markets information. Our Web site, baltimoresun.com, has access to quotes and performance information that isn't on the printed pages.

Still, we realize that many readers who still rely on markets information in the printed paper are not comfortable obtaining that information by computer. To assure this information remains available to these readers, The Sun has arranged to offer readers stock quotes by telephone for free through TellMe, a voice-activated service used by a number of other newspapers. Instructions for using this service can be found atop page 4.

If you have comments, concerns or questions about these changes, feel free to call us at 410-332-6400 or e-mail me at the address below. We will either answer or return every call and e-mail.

- Bernie Kohn

Assistant Managing Editor/ Business

bernie.kohn@baltsun.com

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