As news print has proved incompatible with the immediacy of today’s fast-paced digital lifestyle, newspapers are going digital. It’s a tried and true sentiment shared by emerging and time-tested shoe-leather journalists, alike, but despite all the discussion in journalism circles about the downfall of print, newspaper minds have yet to perfect a website that presents editorial content with the no-fuss navigation internet users desire. That’s the assertion Nikos Kostandaras, managing editor and columnist of a leading Greek newspaper, made in a 2009 post on the PostGlobal, a joint online venture between the Washington Post and Newsweek. Though the post is a few years dated, Kostandaras details concerns relevant to news consumers in 2013 — in order for newspaper websites to fully outpace the novelty of hard copy print editions, they must craft websites that merge the content readers desire into one neatly packaged, user-friendly page. For Kostandaras, that includes an up-to-the minute feed detailing the latest news, interactive interfaces that allow users to submit traffic and weather alerts, as well as a platform that permits users to navigate between multiple information mediums, from short story to encyclopedia. But despite lightly admonishing newspapers for failing to maximize the unlimited space of the worldwide web, Kostandaras concludes his post on an upbeat tenor — in a world of misinformation and speculation, journalists are needed more than ever to set the record straight. The basic truth in that, Kostandaras asserted, is fundamental for the newspaper industry to right itself.
Take risks. That’s the general takeaway from a November 2010 Josh Tapper Nieman Journalism Lab post. In the post, Tapper references international newspapers referring to other international newspapers — not U.S. ones — for direction on print redesigns. International newspapers, he said, are more open to incorporate splashier color and toy with a paper’s headlines and section structures. Personally, comparing the international newspapers Tapper attached to his post, with their exciting color and innovative headline presentation, is a little more visually exciting than any U.S. newspapers I happen across on a consistent basis. In my limited time studying design, I feel U.S. newspapers are a little afraid of being that pioneer of innovation by introducing more color and more experimental design. I think designers fear the design won’t appropriately convey the story or run the risk of looking too gaudy. But I feel U.S. newspapers can take a note from international papers including Debes Leer in Domingo and the Hindustan Times — they balance creativity and innovation with functional news design.
DEBES LEER EL TIEMPO: The newspaper in the Dominican Republic adapts more magazine-looking design to its newspaper. The stylized headline presents information in an exciting, unusual way by U.S. standards without appearing cheap or hastily put together.
THE NATIONAL POST: A Canadian newspaper, published this information graphic to summarize the 999 known causes of death between 1967 and 2007. The info-graphic takes an overwhelming mass of information and reduces it to a still-informative, digestible and visually appealing format.