A new look and other fruits of our digital experiments

After much anticipation, the Voyager 1 spacecraft has finally, officially crossed into interstellar space. Or, depending on how you conceive of the solar system, maybe it hasn’t, as Andrew Grant explains in a fold-out map of the sun’s neighborhood on Page 19.

Like Voyager, Science News has just made an exciting transition. This redesigned issue is the notable result, marking a foray into new, uncharted territory. Or maybe not. Science News has reinvented itself many times over the decades (SN: 5/10/08, p. 30), and while our latest incarnation pushes us into the digital future, our mission remains unchanged: to translate the latest advances of science into an easy-to-read form.

From the font changes to the new cover, Science News design director Beth Rakouskas and her team have taken to heart the goal of integrating our digital and print publications. The redesigned magazine takes many cues from Science News Prime, the iPad-only weekly that took its final bow with the September 30 issue. The two-year SN Prime experiment allowed us to innovate, trying new ways of reporting on science and new ways to present it. The successes have now found their way to print, many spearheaded by departments editor Erika Engelhaupt. On the pages that follow, you will find an expanded Notebook section featuring short items from a wide variety of topics. “It’s Alive,” a regular column by life sciences writer Susan Milius on the frontiers of organismal biology, makes its print debut here. Milius’ column skillfully weaves together new research with natural histories of all kinds of living things. Reviews and Previews, a new section, describes noteworthy books as well as websites, films, exhibits and other science-rich experiences. With most reader responses now arriving via e-mail or as online comments, Feedback seeks to give a better sense of the discussions that stories generate. The new Science Visualized features original infographics and stunning science photos.

The redesign also fixed some problems, mostly invisible to readers. It increases flexibility on the news pages, for example, to ensure that the magazine always includes the most interesting and important news stories from a mix of fields.

No one knows what interstellar space is really like. And no one can claim to know what magazines will look like in the future. But like that faraway space probe, Science News keeps moving forward. And we look forward to taking you along on the journey: Visit www.sciencenews.org/join-society to register for access to the new website and tablet edition.

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