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Our New Mascots

Actually, they’re Jason Adams and Ari Karpel, the editors of our new and improved News & Notes section

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They’ve been holed up in the lab for several months now, our crack team of editors, writers, reporters, and designers. The mission: deliver to you, dear reader, a better-looking News & Notes, chockful of more news and more humor. So they’ve been squirreled away (think: Animal House), testing new stories, new layouts, new ideas, and yes, at the tragic end of the process, new costumes. As the photo above shows, the hard work finally got to them: Our editors did, in fact, lose their minds…

Just for one brief photo shoot, we pray. I think — and I hope you’ll agree — that Ari, Jason, and the team (which includes designer John Walker and editors Henry Goldblatt and Jay Woodruff) have created something pretty terrific. Here’s a brief Reader’s Guide to the new section:

— More stories. You’ll see more reported stories in the new section, and more humor and opinion. And as with the lead story on the fate of this year’s Oscar winners, we won’t be afraid to weigh in with the EW take.

— The best of the old News & Notes. Jim Mullen’s Hot Sheet? Monitor? The Shaw Report? Random Quote? They’re all here, and in the next few issues you’ll see such standbys as Burning Question and Gimme Shelter.

— New sidebars. Start with the Deal Report, which wraps up, yes, all the big deals signed in the past week. If you can’t catch a hot show or movie, the Pop Culture Crib Sheet arms you with choice insider tidbits for the next water-cooler klatch. The To Do List is exactly that, and we’ll be checking in on how closely you followed our advice. We get up on our soapbox for Hooray for…, while Cash Register reveals patterns in the week’s grosses that even the CSI gang might miss. And there’s more…

— Bigger, better photos. Check out the 5-Year Plan, where stars on the rise tell you in their own words what they’ve done and where they want to go. And every week we’ll wrap up News & Notes with First Look — an exclusive full-page, behind-the-scenes photo. This issue we’ve got Angelina Jolie on the set of July’s Tomb Raider 2.

Over the next few issues, we’ll do our best to make this the most dynamic, entertaining section possible. Tell us what you think of the changes by sending e-mail to ew_letters@ew.com. I hope you’ll like News & Notes as Jason and Ari move it along. They just need a moment to get out of the costumes.