Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Chicago Tribune Redesigned! (Hello? Is this thing on?)

Raise your hand if you read a printed copy of the Chicago Tribune this morning? Anyone? No? OK, well, I did, so let me be the first to tell you: The print version of the Chicago Tribune has been redesigned!

What? You get all your news online? Oh. Well, then maybe you will respond better to a visual representation of the redesign:

Aside from making the newspaper page thinner (as in, not so wide), the most striking difference in the redesign is the lack of the familiar Chicago Tribune blue in the masthead. I always liked that color blue and I assumed it was always in the masthead, so I choked on my breakfast when I first saw this. Then I turned to page two and saw the above graphic. Apparently the blue masthead has only been around as long as I have, so it's not like they're undoing a century-long tradition or something. Just a quarter century. I can live with that. Besides, the new masthead doesn't look that bad and if this prolongs the life of the printed newspaper page by even one day, I'm all for it. (Stop laughing at me.)

It's telling that there are very few blogs or articles talking about the Trib's redesign, as this would have been much bigger news back in the pre-blogosphere days and probably would have started a widespread chain of reader angst. As it is now, the Trib will probably just have to deal with a few angry elderly readers, whose appalled letters will be printed in the paper's letters section, where other elderly readers will read them. Meanwhile, life goes on uninterrupted online. What did they do? Less blue, you say? Yawn.

I think this guy sums it up pretty well. A redesign is just the Trib's way of possibly saving a few bucks, while failing to address bigger problems of how to best use the Web to increase audience share, increase revenue and increase the quality of reporting. These are pressing questions that go well beyond the beauty of a new font or the color on Page One. The old joke has been rewritten: What's black and white and red all over? A newspaper that's losing money.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Does the Tribune have the budget of the Viator Voice, that they can't afford a little extra blue in the header?

Ah, what am I saying, I don't care anyway! They should make it green now.