In the making of Inside The Times

Times Insider explains who we are and what we do, and provides behind-the-scenes insights into how our journalism is born.

Over the years, portions of The New York Times have developed a loyal readership, both niche and international. The National Desk grabs attention with headlines that reflect history; Opinion columns call for debate; Styles pages are instantly recognizable and spread across coffee tables across the country.

Among the frame-worthy front pages and more than a dozen sections are two quirky pages neatly embedded in the A book: pages A2 and A3.

Since the first issue, published on September 18, 1851, most of the newspaper has been telling readers about the world. Pages 2 and 3 told the readers about the newspaper. A note at the top of page 2 said that the Times, then called The New York Daily-Times, would appear “every morning (except Sundays) for an indefinite number of years.”

In the years that followed, pages A2 and A3 were, at various points, home to the newspaper’s international report, an index and a summary of the news. In 2008, Page 2 first used the Inside The Times label to organize a table of contents for the rest of the newspaper. In 2017, a column entitled “Inside The Times” appeared on page 2 for the first time, giving an insight into our journalism.

The purpose: Pull back the curtain and explain how it all works.

We have continued to subscribe to this mission ever since. Inside The Times columns have explained to readers the process behind issuing corrections, how we report on election night, and the efforts that have been made to verify images from Ukraine. We shared how we obtained Donald J. Trump’s tax returns and how we uncovered that American air warfare resulted in a staggering civilian death toll. Journalists took readers to the frontlines of the war in Ukraine; under the streets of New York City to cover virus-laden sewage; and to a treading bar in Scottsdale, Arizona for an article on bachelorette parties.

But despite years of answering reader questions, we couldn’t shake one: who were we? Our goal was clear; our identity, not so much.

Since joining The Times last year as Editor of A2 and A3, the team and I have thought about how we can better fulfill our mission. Today we are pleased to announce that these two pages have been redesigned as a complete section that will give you even more insight into our newspaper and our people. Existing articles are upgraded and more than eight new items delve deeper into the inner workings of The Times.

In the spirit of what we do, we wanted to take you behind the process of our update itself – and what changes you can expect.

We knew we wanted to give readers more content and exclusive access to our 1,700+ journalists. We also wanted to increase transparency about how our reporting and projects come together. We thought that each feature should shed light on a part of the journalistic process, share something surprising or unlock an unknown oddity.

Editors suggested more than 20 new ideas, and our page designers created mock layouts for our team to review.

Then came the meetings — first via video call, later in a third-floor conference room at The Times’ New York headquarters, where mock layouts papered all available surfaces. We used sticky notes to plan where new items would go, and often crumpled those with half-baked ideas into tiny balls, only to flatten them out hours later while searching for hidden gems that we might have written off too quickly.

A large part of the update process was asking peers from teams across the editorial board for their opinions on what worked—and what didn’t. In particular, we’ve worked with The Times’ Trust team, who are focused on finding ways to deepen our audience’s belief in our mission.

Everyone loved the idea of ​​including more reader voices – we wanted to be able to post more of your comments on weekly report articles and responses to callouts. A new element, Reader Corner, will highlight your voices and stories.

The process was a close collaboration between editors and designers. Sarah Gephart, a graphic designer who joined the team for the refresh, developed a toolkit of new story shapes, resulting in the brighter, bolder, and more dynamic look you see today. Our new format is less regimented, which allows us to experiment and offer more variety. We’ve also given our ‘Story Behind the Story’ column more space on page 2, so we can delve deeper into how our journalism works and showcase more of the photojournalism and ambitious design of The Times.

Here’s a taste of some of the new features to watch out for: Might We Suggest will provide a list of weekend recommendations from across the newsroom on Saturdays, and The Dateline will show readers where Times correspondents have been reporting via a world map. In On the Scene, journalists share what they’ve seen and heard on a reporting trip, whether sailing down the Congo to survey logging or following an “autumn influencer” as she poses for photos in colorful foliage.

On Sundays, readers can also look forward to two new rotating columns: Our Word Through Time traces a word’s etymology through its appearances in our report. On opposite Sundays, another feature, In Times Past, features an artifact from the Times’ vast archives.

Old favorites stick around – although some with new names or looks. (You can now find our spot illustration, which always has a hidden reference to the newspaper, at the top of page 3. Oh, and the mini crossword appears daily!)

The final week before release brings sleepless nights and doubts. But it’s also incredibly exciting because we can finally share the content that we spent months designing just for you. We hope you enjoy reading these pages as much as we enjoy creating them.

We want to hear from you! Send your thoughts on our new look to [email protected]