Measure of success:
Proof is in the pages



Nothing pleases a consultant more than seeing marked growth in the design and editing of a client newspaper at the six-month mark, when the stress of launch is well behind and everyone should be hitting his stride. I have had the chance to review a number of weeks of The Standard (Nairobi, Kenya) following the relaunch I directed in July 2008. They recently have had a run of strong news stories – the local angle to the Obama story, ongoing political corruption, supermarket and oil tanker explosions that left dozens dead, and an ongoing famine that promises to turn into a national tragedy.

On deadline, The Standard now deals with these important stories with aplomb. Visit here for a link to a gallery of pages from recent weeks (and just a couple of prototypes in the mix). I have included inside pages as well as covers, since we often brag about redesigns by showing splashy covers from big news events when often, the success is in the day-to-day inside pages that make up the vast bulk of the design. These samples show how extensive training has paid off, with The Standard’s staff quickly becoming adept at “layering” stories, using glance boxes and simple graphics to serve busy readers while selling the “depth” of stories as well.

* A footnote that relates to the “success” of a redesign: managers at Standard tell me that since the July 2009 relaunch, they have seen a 22% increase in circulation. I’d like to think the new design, improved printing and dramatic reformatting of the paper had something to do with this, along with intensive writing coaching done internally. But, they also had a run of strong news (interest in politics is at an all time high, with corruption on the local front, and Obama on the international), and probably have made adjustments to their circulation/sales strategies, so I’m very hesitant to claim the redesign was the main factor. But, whatever the causes, good news to report, and to be associated with.

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