2012 forecast: When does a newspaper redesign make sense?

One of the most popular pages on the companion site to this blog (Ron Reason News Design) has been my Q&A on when and how to hire a newspaper redesign consultant. I’ve just updated it to reflect the very different consulting approaches my clients have asked of me within the last year, and my thoughts on what this year may hold.

My observations: newspapers are dusting themselves off from their toughest economic challenges, taking stock as the display ad climate stabilizes, and thinking creatively about how to reinvent in a crowded and competitive marketplace. For the first time in several years, some clients are even hiring, and investing innewsroom training. Yes, our march continues into the digital future, including tablet-land, but in an industry where many still see 80-90% of their revenue coming from the print side, the era of print redesign, reinvention and reinvigoration remains alive.

A trend that continues from 2011: An even greater emphasis on “advertising first” (reinvention with an eye toward strengthening appeal to advertisers – new, at-risk, or lost – rather than, “here’s what the newsroom thinks is cool”). Plus: the concept of a “redesign residency,” where I visit a client for one to four weeks solid, or more, to buckle down and help guide your team quickly through the change process.

A previous post worth revisiting: Be concerned when your editors have no concern with the revenue side of things.

For more on newspaper redesign issues for 2012, click here.

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