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Changes unveiled today to Post-Dispatch comics and puzzles

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When I was growing up in Ohio, the comics first drew me to the local newspaper.

I started flipping through the “funnies” at a young age before I eventually graduated to the sports and news pages. My love for newspapers started with “Marmaduke,” “Hagar the Horrible” and “Peanuts.”

So I understand the sentiment and the attachment to certain characters. But I also understand this: The past several years — actually, the past two decades — have shown the newspaper industry the critical need to continually change and evolve.

That direction has been clear for a while. Technology and the internet permanently changed our trajectory, of course, as they did for other industries. It has sometimes been a painful transition.

But it has also brought exciting opportunities to reach new audiences, tell stories in new ways and use new tools to enhance our journalism. We need to keep moving in that direction, and we need the resources to do it.

Starting today, you’ll notice significant changes to the comics, puzzles and advice columns in the Post-Dispatch. Our company, Lee Enterprises, is moving to a uniform set of offerings for its newspapers, with new strips and columns that you haven’t typically seen in the Post-Dispatch. The company’s goal with these changes is to make sure it can still devote resources to local news coverage and strong journalism.

On Monday through Saturday, that will mean a half-page of comics and a half-page of puzzles in the Everyday section, with a new mix of advice columns and entertainment and lifestyle coverage. Sundays will feature four full pages of comics in print, plus columns and puzzles.

The mix of comics will also change. We will lose some longstanding strips, such as “Family Circus,” “Beetle Bailey” and “Blondie.” We will no longer run the bridge column, and we will present a new advice column (“Ask Amy”) to replace “Dear Abby.”

Some of your favorite comics are staying, such as “Garfield,” “Pickles” and “Pearls Before Swine.” The Dr. Keith Roach column will remain on weekdays, and the Carolyn Hax column, which already runs in the Sunday Life section, will now also run on Saturdays in Everyday. Horoscopes will still run Monday through Saturday. And you will notice new comic strips, such as “Peanuts,” “Close to Home” and “For Better or For Worse.”

You can see the range of new options today, in the Everyday section, and Sunday.

The options, however, are not limited to print. In fact, we’ll be offering plenty more on other platforms. Our e-edition, an electronic replica of the newspaper, will offer you several more comics — a full extra page on Monday through Saturday and four full extra pages on Sunday.

In addition, we will launch the “GoComics” platform on our website starting today. That will offer our subscribers exclusive access to almost 500 daily comics, more than 30 digital puzzles and 15 syndicated columns, including “Dear Abby” and “Miss Manners.”

All subscriptions include access to the e-edition, where you can scroll through our pages on a computer, tablet or phone, and full access to stltoday.com. You just have to activate an account and create a login and password. You can do so easily at stltoday.com/activate.

We hope you give these changes time and that you come to enjoy the new comic strips and columnists. And we hope those of you who haven’t seen the e-edition will give it a try so you can enjoy all the pages of extra comics. We take our role in the community seriously, and the larger goal is to find ways to keep reporting the news that matters to you.

We know the loyalty that some comics and columnists inspire, and we know you’ll want to respond and offer feedback. You can do so by calling customer service at 314-340-8888.

Thank you for subscribing and for your support.

Alan Achkar is the executive editor of the Post-Dispatch.

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