All posts in category Design Classroom

U of Montana Journalism course syllabus, “J494: Critical Thinking About Design and Disruption”

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 […]




Newspaper redesign tips: Converting broadsheets to narrow web widths

Converting broadsheet newspapers to narrower web widths isn’t simply a matter of putting your existing design mix into a smaller shape. I’ve worked with newspaper clients since 1996 to design for narrower web widths, from The Dallas Morning News and Orlando Sentinel, to most recently, the Brunswick (Ga.) News. In every case, we’ve realized that the […]




Want a more creative publication? Skilled staff? Conduct art classes

Often the road to redesign brings happy surprises (beyond, one hopes, a smart looking publication). Prototyping and other goal-setting can suggest workflow restructuring, clarification of roles and responsibilities, and training needs. All came about at our redesign this spring of Crain’s Detroit Business, where redesign project manager Pierrette Dagg was promoted to Creative Services Director shortly before the relaunch. She […]




Advice for young (and seasoned) journalists? Ask some very recent grads

Grizzly grads tell us loud and clear: Get ready for digital-first publishing, heavy on social media, rocked by (and enjoying) constant change. [February 10, 2015, Missoula, Mont.] What an eye-opener it was for the journalism class I’m teaching this semester, “Critical Thinking About Design and Disruption,” to see #AdviceForYoungJournalists top the Twitter trends over the last 24 hours. Research they’d produced just the week […]




Who needs an artist? Tips for using Google maps for news stories

[FOLLOWING IS ONE OF SEVERAL HANDOUTS POSTED HERE ESPECIALLY FOR MEMBERS OF THE ALBERTA WEEKLY NEWSPAPERS ASSOCIATION – BUT ANYONE IS WELCOME TO READ AND ENJOY!] In a review of more than a hundred news pages produced by the members of the Alberta Weekly Newspapers Association, at whose conference I was invited to speak this weekend, I […]




Tips for making news pages smarter, at-a-glance

[FOLLOWING IS ONE OF SEVERAL HANDOUTS POSTED HERE ESPECIALLY FOR MEMBERS OF THE AWNA – BUT ANYONE IS WELCOME TO READ AND ENJOY!] Sometimes it’s good to revisit the basics, as I had a chance to do this weekend as a speaker invited by the Alberta Weekly Newspapers Association in Calgary. I am reminded that there […]




Cincinnati reader feedback: ‘Truly awesome.’ (Plus: more live pages)

Near the end of the first day of the new look/format/spirit Cincinnati Enquirer, Editor Carolyn Washburn forwarded a selection of reader comments, which I’ve interspersed below with live page designs from the second and third day. (Kudos to Gannett Louisville Design Studio manager Ryan Hildebrandt and his crew.) From my experience in years of redesigns […]




The redesigned Cincinnati Enquirer: Readers Guide, first pages

Congratulations to Editor Carolyn Washburn, Gannett Design Team Supervisor Ryan Hildebrandt, and their teams today as they debut a new look, format, and spirit for the Cincinnati Enquirer. The paper is the second major title in the U.S. to convert to a folded, tall-tab format called “Super Compact/Three Around,” and Washburn took the opportunity over […]




Prototyping Secrets, Part 2: The Mechanics of Redesign

TIPS FOR MAKING THE MOST OF TEXT, VISUALS, AND ADS  By Ron Reason My recent post dissecting the process of redesign brought an interesting question from a blog reader: How realistic should the text and photos be that are used on prototypes? I think the mechanics of redesign – the use of images, text and ads […]




Prototyping Secrets, Part 1: The Process of Redesign

TIPS FOR LEADING AND MANAGING YOUR PROJECT TOWARD EXCELLENCE  By Ron Reason Editorial redesigns often follow a similar process, which I have refined in my work from Delhi to Dubai. In this post I’ll share thoughts about how to make the most of  the process of prototyping, but I will outline the other steps I often follow […]