Refreshing Splash: Another Sun-Times makeover

Tuesday’s edition of the Chicago Sun-Times unveiled a redesigned weekday features section — all under the brand name of Splash.

Jim Kirk, publisher and editor-in-chief of the Sun-Times, said the move reinforces Splash as a franchise of the paper while eliminating the clutter of other features titles (including Pulse and Chatter). Sunday Splash, the Sun-Times’ stand-alone weekly magazine, incorporated additional entertainment features with the demise earlier this month of the Sunday Show section.

“Overall we were looking to consolidate our branding in the entertainment area,” Kirk told me. “With Splash, Pulse, Chatter, etc. we were a bit confusing to readers. We feel this is a much better presentation of our features and entertainment content on a daily basis.”

The revised lineup focuses each weekday section on a theme: the arts on Monday; “screens” (TV, movies, music, viral video) on Tuesday; food on Wednesday; wellness on Thursday, and city life on Friday.

Conspicuously absent Tuesday was the celebrity guest column that’s been leading off the Daily Splash section since the previous redesign in May of 2012. Kirk said the columns aren’t gone entirely, but no longer will appear in the paper five days a week. “We will run at least two in print during the week, and more online,” he said. “We may run more in print if we have space.”

Another victim of Sun-Times shrinkage was Jenny McCarthy, whose Q&A column in last weekend’s Sunday Splash was reduced to a small box containing just one question (with readers directed to go online for her response). Considering that McCarthy had just been signed as a co-host of ABC’s “The View” earlier in the week, it seemed an odd time for her hometown paper to reduce the visibility of her column.

Not at all, said Kirk: “We were a little tight on space, so tried it this way hoping to drive some traffic online.”

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