All posts in category Commentary on Newspaper Design

Good alt weeklies: ‘The indescribable savoriness of salty, sweet, sour, bitter’

A good alt-weekly. It’s like the journalistic equivalent of umami – the indescribable savoriness that goes with salty, sweet, sour, bitter. It’s just a texture more than anything else and it celebrates being intangible.

2011 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, launched in 1997!) 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, […]

Holy Hogwarts! Former redesign client creates movie magic

It’s always wonderful to see a former redesign client doing enterprising work, even if the consultant had nothing to do with it. Such is the case with the Victoria (TX) Advocate, which I redesigned a few years back. We cleaned up and organized the paper a bit, and did some training on better headlines and […]

8 Random Thoughts About Tribune’s ‘Chicago Live!’

x [CHICAGO] Last night I attended the second taping of Chicago Tribune‘s experimental new show, Chicago Live! It’s a marriage of three local icons: Tribune, Second City, and the Chicago Theatre, where the taping takes place. An unusual extension of the Tribune brand, the show was described by one of its creators as “a mix […]

Injun Summer, meet Tribune Summer

x I have vivid childhood memories of my grandfather, a longtime Chicago Tribune reader in Valparaiso, Ind., pulling out the paper each autumn and showing us kids John T. McCutcheon’s “Injun Summer.” At the time it appeared regularly on the inside back cover of the Trib‘s glossy Sunday magazine (ah, those were the good old […]

Innovation in U.S. papers: Where is it? How to define it?

>> How do we define innovation in newspapers? It’s tricky. Let’s start by giving credit to those trying bold new ways to connect with audiences. Here’s a look inside some very different print publications: a Seattle alt-weekly, the San Francisco literary publisher McSweeney’s, and the Chicago Tribune. One of the fun things about being a […]

At Burning Man, two alt weeklies stir up some dust

I’ve been in alt-weekly mode with several fascinating clients this year, and some work with the Association of Alternative News, so I was intrigued to find not one but two alternative weekly newspapers circulating at Burning Man, the annual desert festival of art-culture-camping-music-whatever in the remote desert of Nevada. Well, no wifi or cell phone service […]

The Panorama experiment: What newspapers and magazines can still learn

What if you redesigned your newspaper, or published a start-up, that elicited reactions like this:

Want more zip? Grade your publication’s spirit

Great conversations with creative directors and production managers here in Toronto, with the Association of Alternative Newsweeklies. There aren’t a huge number of the art folk here, but they are smart and passionate about their papers, digital products and overall brand. Several have shared this concern: with the tightening of news hole, and down sizing […]

An alt-weekly wish list: Editing, design, spirit

[Newer Post: 7 Things to Love About The Stranger: An Illustrated Guide.] More thoughts from a weekend immersion in the world of alternative weekly newspapers. Fun crowd with lots of talent, energy, and passion, despite the challenges of the current economic climate. Here’s a little fantasizing about where I’d take them in a perfect world […]