There’s a new look to the newspaper you’re holding in your hands, but rest assured its mission remains unaltered. For an explanation of how we’re changing the paper, turn to the detailed instructions on “How to Read the (new and improved) Independent” on page 12. But to understand what’s behind it, let me first tell you a little about Liz Holm, our art director and the brains and brawn behind the redesign–and then a little about our history.

It’s appropriate that Liz’s design debuts in our pet issue. Liz, who grew up in Chapel Hill, lives in the country west of Carrboro with her husband, Ed, a video producer, web designer and musician. They have three cats (Rocky, Sputnik and Mr. Peabody); two dogs (Carlos and Ouija), and MoMo. MoMo is a Nigerian dwarf goat, but much more. “He’s a soul man,” she says, and he lives inside the house as much as out. MoMo is almost Liz’s surrogate child now that her daughter, Jennifer, has gone off to study violin at Juilliard.

Liz came to the Independent in 1997 after graphic design jobs and computer graphic studies in California, and she’s been thinking about this redesign ever since she arrived here.

“I want to open up the paper and make it not so dense,” she says, “to have breathing room and make it easy to read, without being too trendy.”

That also could describe the new content we’re adding to the paper–new columns, music notes, arts features and a fun page. But we will not waver from the mission set out in the first issue 21 years ago by Steve Schewel, then the paper’s publisher, now its president of the board: We believe, he wrote, “that a newspaper that tells the truth about power and those who possess it can help ensure that justice is done.” He also said: “[W]e want you to know that this newspaper will be fun to read.”

And he quoted the words of William Swaim, editor of the Greensboro Patriot, from 150 years before–words that ring remarkably true today: “We shall not cease to ‘cry aloud and spare not,’ while the freedom and prosperity of our country are threatened with annihilation; nor shall we court the smiles, or dread the frowns of any man on earth… . Our press shall remain forever unawed while under our control. It shall be independent…”

We remain independent. We are still dedicated to the ideals set forth 21 years ago. And we still want to have fun.