The digital age has an enormous impact on the daily life. As the technology gradually develops, every single activity is altered.
Similarly, the means of communication has changed. Many are converted into a single one. The phenomenon of convergence has merged printed newspapers and its online presence i.e. Internet, at the same time. It has created a new version called e-newspapers. According to Chyi and Sylvie (2001) “technologically, the Internet enables online newspapers to seek a world-wide market. Practically, most online newspapers are owned by their print counterparts, which also serve as online editions’ primary content providers”. Boczkowski (2004) describe the emergence of online newspapers has occurred “partly as a reaction to major socioeconomic and technological trends, such as changing competitive scenario and developments in computers and telecommunications – trends that, in turn, online newspapers have influenced” (Ihlström. N.D)1.
This trend has somehow threatened the existence of printed newspapers. However, it doesn’t mean that the printed newspapers will never survive at all. There is still exists a segment of readers who prefer reading newspapers in printed version. A research show that readers don’t prefer to go to their favorite newspapers online version neither they do like to comment there because it lacks the emotional aspect hence they don’t experience the same feeling as handling a printed newspaper. Instead they all find it quite boring. They never accept the similarity of news in both printed and online version when they were shown the same article, published on both versions. When they were asked what is the most liked feature in their favorite newspaper in terms of design, most of them preferred huge titles and subtitles that influence their emotions before reading the article. They don’t mind the size of the pictures; the importance comes in fonts and clarity (Tevekeli. N.D)2.
Besides, the newspaper readers pleasure is soiled on the internet by the excessive advertisement either by pop up, banner or buttons. (Ibid)3
On the other hand, every newspaper website is tried to be designed similar to the printed newspaper format. Every online newspaper organization (like Huffington Post) does its best to mimic the design and style of newspaper broadsheet.( Fowler . 2014)4 Although it shows the significance of printed newspaper in the Digital Media age, on the other hand, it surely face a tough competition to keep their readership.
In this scenario, where one segment is under the influence of Digital media, prefer more technological advancement, believes more in digital devices utility, and the other segment who adore the printed versions, have emotional element, is more inclined towards the essence of a basic layout, it surely is a great target, challenge and goal of the newspaper organization and their managements is to keep the two segment on board with them in any way. The balance between the choices of the two segments is their utmost priority to grow their business.
Organizations deliberately do research; check the requirements of time, period, society, and most preferably newspapers readers. After analyzing existing trends certain changes are being made in the newspapers and it is redesigned to attract readers and keep them adhered for a long lasting period.
The continual change on a small level is also evident to update newspaper accordingly. According to the Creative Director of the Chicago Tribune (1985) “Constant evolution is better than revolution. Constantly evaluate how your paper looks and make small changes to improve its readability. This is easier on staff and readers than a major redesign every so often.” (Ames. 1989)5
Additionally, another goal of redesign is to make a newspaper a better vehicle of communication for newspaper readers. If done effectively can contributes to gain more advertisers. The news department’s performance get more acknowledgements as their work is displayed properly and the message or story is conveyed more effectively. (Ibid)6
To achieve all these targets, the traditional layout out of newspaper has adopted many alterations. The traditional diagonal principal, according to which a page must be visualized by dividing into portions by drawing diagonals and news have to put up and down on these imaginary lines, bound a layout designer to follow the pattern of putting the news instead of handling the make up to give the most effective display and weight to the news. Therefore changes are being made now. (Hutt. 1960)7
Another research supports that the influence of electronic and new media has changed the layout of printed newspaper. It has influence by the increased emphasis on using pictures and graphics to tell a news story in the newspaper. Now publishers believe that to prevent their readers from shifting to another medium i.e. TV, they must make their product based on visual aid, making it more attractive and catchy. The technological advancement today, like computer has made it so easy to immediately give effects to pictures, and design graphics.( Baigi. 1992)8
In a research Salman wih his colleagues also define that the layout of the newspaper has been changed due to digital advancement. (Addullah. 2011)9
The excessive use of readers attention catchy elements such as typefaces, pictures, infographics including charts, tables, illustrations, graphics, colours have enhanced the chances to grab the reader’s attention. Those who prefer traditional layout can easily find everything in a layout of a printed broadsheet where as the visual attraction also catch the readers who like visual aid.
While changing the layout or redesigning it many other factors are taken under consideration among them one is need of community. As Robert Lockwood explains, “Design that would be more appropriate not only for content, but for the area so that the tone and the look of the paper would accurately reflect the character of the place.” (Ames. 1989)10
Vanco believes that the most important thing in the redesign is that it should be changed to “make it look consistent: make each page look like it belongs to the same paper.” According to Vanco the addition of some other elements will attract the readers: the gray body wouldn’t attract reader other elements will; flags, the headline, typefaces, standing signature heads and photographs means more to redesign the newspaper; the selection and display of strong photographs. (Ibid)11
Sometimes the redesign of newspaper after considering every possible aspect also suffers from criticism that is quite natural. Readers are quite sensitive to their most preferred newspaper. Similar situation can be observed when The Guardian 6 years after the paper went from broadsheet to Berliner size it has undergone another redesign. The reason of the Editor Alan Rusbridger mentioned in a letter to readers on page 2 of the paper on 16th January is the need to save “on the cost of paper, ink and production”. Readers, on the other hand being sensitive to newspaper reacted to restore the previous format (Elliott. 2012)12 .But gradually they accepted it anyway.
With this scenario it can easily say that the redesign or change of layout does face resistance from readers; it takes time to diffuse; either they accept it completely or with a slight change may agree to accept it; might reject it completely and switch to another newspaper. Therefore, in making redesign one should be mindful.
After redesign the review should be made about it. According to Grotta “After design changes, research should be done immediately and then again about a year later. These results should be compared with circulation figures to see how they relate.”(Ames. 1989)13
The findings from the researches, usually from surveys, before and after the change of layout helps to figure out the readership interest subjected to layout (Ibid)14.
1 Ihlström, Carina.(N.D). The e-newspaper innovation converging print and online. Retrieved October 14, 2013 from http://hh.diva-portal.org/smash/get/diva2:237602/FULLTEXT01.pdf pg5
2 Tevekeli, Angeliki. (N.D). The impact of new technologies on the layout of newspapers on the web – Aesthetical differences and limitations from print to web. Emotional effect of the users. Retrieved October 14, 2014 from http://www.ziljak.hr/tiskarstvo/tiskarstvo07/Anastasios/TevekeliCorr.html
3Tevekeli, Angeliki. (N.D). The impact of new technologies on the layout of newspapers on the web – Aesthetical differences and limitations from print to web. Emotional effect of the users. Retrieved October 14, 2014 from http://www.ziljak.hr/tiskarstvo/tiskarstvo07/Anastasios/TevekeliCorr.html
4Fowler, Stephan. (2014). What’s behind the front page?.Retrieved October 14, 2014 from http://next.theguardian.com/blog/whats-behind-the-front-page
5 Ames, Steven E. (1989). Redesign. Elements of newspaper design. First edition. New York. Praeger Publications. pg 173
6 Ames, Steven E. (1989). Redesign. Elements of newspaper design. First edition. New York. Praeger Publications. pg 173
7 Hutt, Allen, (1960). News page make up. Newspaper Design. London. Oxford University Press. Pg 134
8 Baigi, Shirley. (1992). The new story teller. Media/Impact An introduction to Mass media. Second edition. California. Wadsworth Publishing company. pg 66
9 Abdullah, Mohd Yusof Hi. Ibrahim, Faridah. Mahbob. Maizatul Haizan Mustaffa, Normah & Salman, Ali. (2011). The Impact of New Media on Traditional Mainstream Mass Media. Retrieved on October 14, 2014 from http://www.innovation.cc/scholarly-style/ali_samman_new+media_impac116v3i7a.pdf
10 Ames, Steven E. (1989). Redesign. Elements of newspaper design. First edition. New York. Praeger Publications. pg 280
11 Ames, Steven E. (1989). Redesign. Elements of newspaper design. First edition. New York. Praeger Publications. pg 290
12 Elliott, Chris. (2012). The Readers’ editor on… Changes to the design and format of the Guardian. Retrieved on October 14, 2014 from http;// http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2012/jan/22/guardian-changes-design-format
13 Ames, Steven E. (1989). Redesign. Elements of newspaper design. First edition. New York. Praeger Publications. pg 290
14 Ames, Steven E. (1989). Redesign. Elements of newspaper design. First edition. New York. Praeger Publications. pg 290