A new design for newspaper lovers

Executive editorNovember 18, 2012 

On Tuesday, we plan to launch our latest redesign of The News Tribune. Brace yourselves. We’re about to do something radical.

We’re going to design a newspaper for newspaper readers.

Hard-core newspaper readers. Readers who crave the feel of newsprint in their hands. Readers who aren’t ashamed to say they prefer their news the old-fashioned way – on paper.

The truth is, building a newspaper for people who love newspapers is somewhat revolutionary.

For decades, the newspaper industry designed papers for people it hoped would read them. We ran giant headlines to entice nonreaders to grab a paper out of the sidewalk box. We splashed fancy type here and there to look cool and modern. We dreamed up layouts for the coveted 18- to 34-year-old demographic that didn’t much read the paper.

We already had the dedicated readers, we reasoned. Why not stretch ourselves to attract some new ones?

But three important things have changed in recent years: the way people buy newspapers, the multitude of formats available for delivering the news, and the belief that readers look to newspapers to be credible, authoritative news sources.

First, most people don’t buy papers out of sidewalk boxes any more – for the TNT, it’s less than 1 percent on any given Sunday. Most of our papers go to people who subscribe. They spread their papers out on their kitchen counters and don’t need a giant headline to sell them (unless, of course, the news warrants one).

Second, rather than forcing all readers into one product – a printed paper – we now can deliver the news on a computer, a tablet, a smartphone, a Facebook account or Twitter feed. It’s still our news, but some people – often, but not always a younger set – prefer to get their news that way. No problem. That allows us to design digital products for digital readers and design newspapers for print readers.

And third, with so much “news” now available from any outfit or individual who wants to throw up a website, readers depend on us to be a factual, verifiable local news source. Based on that, we think it’s OK to look like a serious news source as well.

Design director David Montesino crafted our new look. A panel of TNT readers provided valuable input along the way. Here’s what you’ll see Tuesday:

 • A new “flag,” the strip across the top of the front page that carries our name. It’ll be a more traditional black on white, albeit in the same typeface. We’ve redesigned our drawing of Mount Rainier with an old-fashioned wood-cut graphic. And the Tacoma skyline will appear in front of the mountain.

 • New headline type, and a new headline philosophy. The new headline font is called Miller. It’s also used by The Boston Globe and has a more authoritative look than the type we use now. Rather than run a big headline at the top of the page every day, as we do now, the lead headline will be big when the news is big, smaller when the news is not so big. This will provide a visual cue to our news judgment. And it will allow us to run more local stories at the top of the page.

 • More stories on each page. The pages will look a little busier, but we want to give you more to choose from. The look also hearkens back to old-time newspapers when covers routinely had eight or 10 story starts. Yes, even in newspaper design, what goes around comes around.

 • Same easy-to-read story type. We are keeping our Concorde story font in the same larger type size we run now. Columns will run ragged right, rather than justified. That way we don’t have to squeeze letters together or spread them apart to make the lines match up. We’re also inserting vertical rules between columns to help guide your eyes.

 • Columnists at the top of pages. In the new design, TNT columnists will regularly appear at the tops of section fronts rather than at the bottom. We think it will give the paper a little more personality – even if you don’t always agree with their points of view.

 • A new reader feedback section. Yes, even people who prefer print often interact with our website. We’ve saved a small section on Page 2 for reader photos, comments, poll results and other interactive elements. To make room for it, we’re moving the People news, celebrity birthdays and movie times to the weather page.

In the end, it’s all just design – a way to package and present our stories and photos. Hopefully it’s a design that enhances your reading experience.

Please consider this redesign a thank you to our most loyal newspaper readers.

IMPROVED TV GUIDE

Look deep inside your paper today for a complimentary issue of our weekly TV section. We’ve added specialty pages for food, decorating, outdoors and sports shows and expanded movie listings.

We offer the section as a subscription add-on, but included one for every subscriber this week as a way to show you the improvements. If you’d like to get the TV section every Sunday, call 1-800-289-8711.

Karen Peterson: 253-597-8434
karen.peterson@thenewstribune.com

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