By Steve Outing
I’m on record as not being impressed by the Orlando Sentinel print edition redesign. There’s the issue of where to put the reinvention resources, first; I believe the Sentinel should be focusing foremost on digital strategy, and not putting too much faith in a print redesign saving the company. But I also don’t think the Sentinel print redesign isn’t truly as “radical” as it’s been touted to be by Tribune executives.
Not so with the upcoming redesign of the Sun Sentinel in Fort Lauderdale. (Both papers are owned by the beleaguered Tribune Co.) Thanks to designer Charles Apple, we get a preview of the front-page mock-ups from his blog.
While I still think that a print redesign is not going to save any newspaper from further declines, a good one could slow down the erosion in print readership and ad revenues. If it’s perceived as helping spearhead an improvement in quality, older readers might stick around longer before transitioning to digital, as have most younger people.
Of course, we’re only seeing the front page. I have my doubts that on a day to day basis, the SenSentinel staff can keep up that level of front-page flash; and I doubt that everything inside will look so radically different. Still, this one looks promising. The full redesign debuts this Sunday.
And y’know, this is turning out to be a great time to be a staff newspaper designer — assuming that you haven’t been laid off already. Those folks are being allowed to let their talents flow, which is something that the conservative nature of newspaper publishing has stifled historically, allowing only smaller incremental changes. It’s good to see the designers having some fun.