Recently I was asked by DESIGN, the magazine of the Society for News Design, to contribute to its summer issue focused on theme of “transition.” SND President Sara Quinn suggested I frame my ideas around a series of photos that intrigued her in recent years, taken while looking down at my feet as I have traveled the world. Read the full post »
[Samples of the redesigned pages.]
By Ron Reason
University of Montana School of Journalism
Spring 2015 T. Anthony Pollner Distinguished Professor
WELCOME TO THE LANDING PAGE for “J494: Critical Thinking About Design and Disruption,” The Spring 2015 Pollner Seminar I taught at the University of Montana School of Journalism. In a nut shell, this course covers innovation, experimentation, transformation and upheaval rocking the news media today, across all platforms.
Here I post summaries of the focus of each week of class, with links to relevant blog entries, assignments, required reading, outcomes and more. (Related: How I developed this course, and its intentions. Basically, it’s a leadership and management course, disguised as a design course, which I proposed to prepare grads to navigate and lead in the disruptive workforce they are entering. Here’s some background on the generous Pollner family endowment that funds two professorships at UM each year.)
PLEASE NOTE: In addition to assignments and readings I required or suggested, the syllabus below has been amended to include numerous articles suggested by students. Look for entries in bold and blue, below, with credit to the student who posted the item to our private class Facebook page.
TOPICS, ASSIGNMENTS and RESULTS, WEEK BY WEEK
Week One, Jan. 27-29, 2015: What’s Design? What’s disruption?
Let’s discuss in detail what we mean by design (it’s not just visual – we design products, organizations, leadership techniques, marketing campaigns, and more) and disruption (it’s not just contraction or death – think startups, reinventions, redesigns, partnerships, innovation and experimentation). Read the full post »
New York Times Executive Editor Dean Baquet spent Thursday, April 16, 2015 speaking with the School of Journalism at the University of Montana and the Missoula community. Following are statements from his appearances before classes, including “J494: Critical Thinking About Design and Disruption,” and videos from a lecture to the public on creating quality journalism in a digital world. Please note that responses to questions from classes are paraphrased except where quotation marks are specifically used.
Manhattan meets Montana: With great help from Times staff, we have a front row seat to study news media innovation, leadership, risk and hope
By Ron Reason
Several months of discussing innovation and change at The New York Times culminates this Thursday for our class, “Critical Thinking About Design and Disruption,” when Times Executive Editor Dean Baquet comes to campus as part of Dean Stone Week. He’ll spend an hour in our classroom, and others at the University of Montana School of Journalism, and later present a lecture to the public, “Quality Journalism in the Digital Age: Challenges and Opportunities.”
Baquet’s visit comes in the wake of months of intense change at the Times, and a huge media spotlight on the evolving yet challenged brand, its people and their work – a lucky break for students getting an up-close-and personal look at issues shaping the industry, and their future, partly thanks to a variety of Times staffers helping us out. Here are ways we’ve been taking a deep dive into the Times, in preparation for Baquet’s time here this week:
- Push to mobile: We’ve contrasted Times Public Editor Margaret Sullivan’s recent missive on “the curious (and vital) power of print,” where she notes that more than 70% of NYT revenue comes from that platform, with her followup last Friday, offering “a darker narrative” by Clay Shirkey. Their exchange follows lots of attention in the last few weeks on the Times’ push toward a predominantly mobile future, including plans revealed today for a new NYT Now app. Currently, 50 percent of the brand’s digital traffic comes from mobile, and that’s expected to top 75% within a few years. Our class has downloaded Times apps, including NYT Now, and is discussing their advertising ramifications, user interfaces, and integration with social media and other brands. (Among our required reading: “Times CIO Marc Frons: What we are doing to make the Times mobile-first,” via The Enterprisers Project, and “NYTimes shifting resources from ‘every division’ to mobile,” via Advertising Age. Today’s Times press release on changes to its mobile portfolio, including plans for the Apple Watch.)
Hebdo, Abramson, innovation, diversity, mobile, Magazine, multimedia: Studying up on an esteemed visitor, his company
In advance of this Thursday’s visit to the University of Montana School of Journalism by Dean Baquet, Executive Editor of The New York Times, students in a variety of classes including J494: The Pollner Seminar, Critical Thinking About Design and Disruption have been studying up on the institution, its innovations, and the man, who will spend an hour with our class and give a public lecture later that night. Following is a curated list of articles and links, including many assigned to J494, for anyone wanting to learn more in advance of his visit to campus. (Related, from this blog: “4 big ways the NYTimes is helping us teach design and disruption.”)
ABOUT or BY DEAN BAQUET
Dean Baquet bio with links to his Times columns and articles (NYTimes)
Baquet assumes editorship after departure of Jill Abramson (NYTimes, David Carr)
On Abramson, race, surviving cancer, and ‘TMZ envy’ (Daily Beast, Lloyd Grove)
Meet Dean Baquet, the Times’ first black boss (New York magazine, Joe Coscarelli)
“One of the most famous quotes in political journalism came from his reporting”: 10 facts about Baquet (Politico, Lucy McCalmont)
Baquet: Media failed after 9/11, hopes next Snowden comes to them (Huffington Post, Michael Calderone)
Dean Baquet calls critic of Times’ Hebdo decision an ‘asshole’ (Politico, Dylan Byers)
‘We were arrogant,’ Baquet says of Hebdo decision (Spiegel, Isabell Hülsen and Holger Stark)
Turbulence at the Times (Politico longform from 2013)
Baquet gives tour of private office, says he checks Facebook 15 times a day (Hollywood Reporter)
[The relaunch issue cover, and a Special Report opener inside.]
What prompted you to suggest doing art classes for Crain’s Detroit Business? How did the redesign factor in to this idea?
“Everybody on my art team (marketing, sales and editorial) has a very different set of skills. That said, people are working differently, creating files differently, and sharing is difficult. Not to mention the hell that comes on when someone goes on vacation and we have to fill a gap. When I was promoted to Art Director, I took time to consider everyone’s strengths and realized we have a lot of talent and specific skills on this team. Marketing could benefit from some of editorial’s layout and typography skill. Editorial could be more aesthetically pleasing with some additional art techniques and understanding. Read the full post »
Early word last week on the redesign/reinvention of The New York Times Magazine gave a good indication this wouldn’t be just a cosmetic exercise, a shuffling around of fonts with a few new editorial features. Instantly I suspected this would offer great lessons for the coming week for my class, “Critical Thinking About Design and Disruption,” at the University of Montana School of Journalism. (With NYT Editor Dean Baquet coming to speak to us April 16, and channels like The Upshot garnering great buzz for innovation and audience development, the Times is big on our radar this semester in Big Sky country.)