WSJ returns to six-column front page

Talking Biz News points out that the Wall Street Journal front page changed from a 5-column format back to a 6-column format this Monday:

The Wall Street Journal, which has had a five-column front since a redesign that was unveiled at the beginning of 2007, has returned to a six-column front page.

The change took effect on Monday.Wall Street Journal

Here is a statement from the paper:

“The Journal decided to add a sixth column to the front page to provide editors design flexibility and slightly increase the amount of real estate dedicated to the major stories of the day. The previous five-column paper wasn’t as flexible and tended to limit the layout options available to editors.

“The decision to move to a six-column format is a change that has been given considerable thought since Marcus Brauchli took over as managing editor in April 2007.

“The ‘What’s News’ feature will continue to be two columns in the new format — Business and Finance, and World-Wide. The Journal will continue to provide its readers with art, graphs and charts as well as hedcuts in the new redesign. The front page ad unit will also remain intact.”

Mario Garcia, the architect of the last two redesigns of The Wall Street Journal said this week’s move was not unexpected:

“(T)his move… was always a subject of discussion, EVEN during our redesign workshops in 2006. I am not surprised, and I think they are doing a good job of implementing the type of front page that is active, energetic and that readers of today, used to busy home pages of online editions, like. Good move for the WSJ, for sure. I like the look and feel.”

SND names winners in first annual book cover contest

Left: Jay Fletcher’s winning soft-cover design.
Right: James Watts’ winning hard-cover design.

They say you can’t judge a book by its cover, but as plans crank up for the 29th annual SND creative competition (set to begin Feb. 9), the first ever competition to design the Society’s book cover has been judged, and the winners are…

Jay Fletcher, a staff artist at The Post and Courier in Charleston, SC, is the big winner of the Society for News Design‘s first cover competition. Fletcher’s cover will appear on SND’s version of the 29th Edition of The Best of Newspaper Design. The winners’ book will be available in early October and feature competition winners from the year 2007, according to C. Marshall Matlock, SND’s Competition Committee director.

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In search of a good design


Some may argue Google’s logo looks silly. Then again, so did most other things on the Internet in the mid-1990s.

“It was playful and deceptively simple. The design subtle as to look almost non-designed, the reading effortless. The colors evoke memories of child play, but deftly stray from the color wheel strictures so as to hint to the inherent element of serendipity creeping into any search results page and the irreverance and boldness of the “I am feeling lucky” link. The texture and shading of each letter is done in an unobtrusive way resulting in lifting it from the page while giving it both weight and lightness. It is solid but there is also an ethereal quality to it.”

Ruth Kedar talks on the logic behind designing the call sign of the Mountain View giant.

Goodbye blue at the Chicago Tribune

Click here (or on the image above) to download a high-rez PDF of the logos

The Blog noticed many papers getting narrower lately as the 48-inch web sweeps the nation. The Chicago Tribune is the most recent to make the transition, making the switch today (see the new front page below). The paper is using the format change to introduce other changes, perhaps the most noticeable: getting rid of the blue background on the Page 1 nameplate. Joe Knowles, the Tribune‘s AME for design and graphics took a few minutes to talk with The Blog about the changes:

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It’s almost that time …

A reminder: The deadline for entries to be received for the 29th Edition competition is January 16.

Need instructions? More entry forms? Download the Call for Entries here.

FROM THE SND PRESIDENT: How we’re facing new challenges

Dear SND members and friends,

I wish you all the best at the start of this new year.

As incoming president of the Society, I am looking forward to working with all of you in 2008. I am always impressed by the dedication and devotion of so many SND members. As we face myriad challenges in our industry, we are becoming an even more vibrant group. These are exciting times and we need to pull together to remain relevant and vital to the industry.

When elected, I made a commitment to help expand SND as an international organization. Last spring, the board approved a proposal to form a partnership with Ifra, and our first steps have included joint promotion of our training and events on the Web site and via e-mail. I’ll be working with our international director, Hans Peter Janisch, to push this forward.

Also on the international scene, SND is in discussions for form an affiliate in China. Lily Lu of the Star-Ledger in Newark has offered to serve as a liaison as we work together with visual journalists in China. We hope to have a proposal for board approval to create a Chinese-language affiliate by the April 6 meeting in Las Vegas.

Latin America is exploring a regional newspaper design competition. Alex Belman of Record in Mexico City and Gabi Schmidt, Region 11 director, will recruit an organizing committee from Mexico, Argentina and Brazil. This increased activity in Latin America is especially exciting in advance of our 2009 workshop in Buenos Aires!

The board has worked together and accomplished much in the drive to be the central organization for visual journalists around the world. As we continue to develop our Web site, we are offering more benefits to our international membership. The Blog is lively and provides links to our worldwide regions.

New challenges are everywhere. Newsrooms are in transition and many are in the process of reinventing themselves. SND, as a global organization has the potential to become an inspiration and a resource for these journalists everywhere.

We are putting significant effort into addressing the huge growth in online journalism where print and the Web converge. SND will strive to become a leader in this integration. Quick Courses have become so much more relevant with more hands-on workshops, and we’re helping traditional print designers in making the transition to new skills.

Meantime, expect to see increased visibility for the Society’s Web awards, The SNDies: The Best of Multimedia Design, which recognize achievement in this fast-growing area. The multimedia designers and artists in this amazing new arena are creating inspirational work. We should all take notice.

I am also making a commitment to help SND’s Foundation president, Bill Gaspard, mark the upcoming 30th anniversary of SND with a major fund-raising effort for the Foundation. Watch for more details on the Foundation’s expanding outreach on snd.org.

We are making good progress on many fronts, but there is still much to do. I am asking all of you to join me in keeping up the effort to ensure the Society is moving forward. Our organization is needed more than ever!

If I can help you in any way, please be sure to e-mail me.

Gayle Grin
SND President
mailto:ggrin@nationalpost.com

Quick Course Q&A with Sara Quinn

The first Quick Courses of 2008 are just a few days away.

Jan. 18-19: Audio & Video Editing, Cerritos College, Cerritos, California
Jan. 18-19: Story Forms Boot Camp, The Poynter Institute, St. Petersburg, Florida

The Quick Course at the Poynter Institute provides the excellent opportunity to have Sara Quinn speak on what the EyeTrack07 study says about Alternative Story Forms.

Sara teaches in the areas of design, graphics, photojournalism and leadership at The Poynter Institute. She is the director of Poynter’s EyeTrack07 study of print and online news. Prior to joining Poynter, Quinn was AME for visuals at the Sarasota Herald-Tribune; presentation director at the Wichita Eagle; and design director, magazine editor, illustrator and book designer at other posts.

She has been juror for competitions such as the SND annual competition, the Association of Alternative News Weeklies, Scripps Howard Foundation and Best of Cox; board member of SND and the American Institute of Graphic Arts.

Recent work has taken Quinn into the newsrooms of the Toronto Star, The Oregonian, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, The Miami Herald, The Columbus Dispatch and the Orlando Sentinel. She has also worked with Ball State University, Ringling School of Art and Design and the University of Missouri in the last few months.

Quinn directs Poynter’s summer fellowship for recent college grads — a six week program with a focus on multimedia that’s considered to be a finishing school for some of the brightest, most innovative young journalists in the business. Quinn helps visual journalists to find their voice in the newsroom and to think beyond traditional job descriptions for ways to contribute their ideas, passions and abilities. She has a B.A. in journalism and graphic design from Wichita State University and an M.A. in illustration from Syracuse University.

Sara recently answered a few of our questions about ASFs.

What does EyeTrack 2007 tell us about ASFs?
We tested 600 regular readers of newspapers in four U.S. cities. Our findings showed that alternative story forms (things like a Q&A, a timeline, a short list or by-the-numbers box) helped readers to retain facts about something they’d read. These forms were popular, too, receiving much more attention than the standard written story form — particularly in broadsheet. Readers in the study also reported greater satisfaction with what they read when it involved alternative story forms.

What advice do you have for news organizations in light of the study?
Only about 4 percent of everything that was available to be read in 30 days of testing during our study could be categorized as an alternative story form. This seems to echo trends on an average day in most U.S. newspapers. To me, this means that there is a lot of room for growth and development toward making daily papers more engaging. It’s something we can act on.

Do you think readers vary among markets?
I think there are some differences, particularly related to a commuter market — and readers will sometimes show a greater personal connection to a publication than another. It was interesting, in an anecdotal way, to meet almost 600 readers and talk with them about their local papers during our study.

If you were starting from scratch, would you design a paper or Web site?
Great question. I think paper still makes sense at this point, from a business perspective. That’s still where the money would be for advertising. I would put money (if I had it 🙂 ) into a niche publication.

What’s the first ASF you remember working on?
I’m sure it wasn’t the very first, but I remember something that outlined how much it would cost to put one new community police officer on the street in Wichita, Kansas. We set it up as sort of an equation, including costs for recruiting, hiring, training and outfitting an officer with gun, handcuffs, uniforms, cars, etc.

Do you have a favorite form of ASF? If yes, what is it and why?
I really like them all, collectively. I do enjoy reading a Q&A that’s done well. There’s an art to asking questions that elicit an unguarded response and that flow from one question to the next.

Register for the Story Forms Boot Camp at the Poynter Institute, or choose one of the many other Quick Courses.