The Mario Blog
03.30.2017—7am
It’s the era of templates

More newspapers are relying on templates to expedite production, to create hubs where mass production of pages takes place, and where one look fits all. The pros and cons.

Another major newspaper company, this time Britain’s Telegraph Media Group, has announced that is cutting jobs by outsourcing more of its sub-editing and page production to a third party agency.

A sign of the times, I may add.

In my own work, I am approached more often than ever to adviser with newspaper companies that which to give one look to several newspapers in the group, or which are trying to tweak the existing design of the printed newspaper by creating templates that adapt easily to a variety of content in various sections.  Here are some of the templates we created for the McClatchy group of newspapers in the United States.

 

This is not necessarily news. I have always maintained that in order to produce a daily newspaper, there has to be what I refer to as a scale of 60% formula and 40% surprise. The surprise is the content the editors curate, the photos and illustrations they select, and, alas, the headlines they write.

Today, I am beginning to see that the reality is more like 75% formula and 25% surprise.  The current economic state of the media demands such drastic measures.

At the Telegraph

The Telegraph team has announced that it would produce some of the broadsheets’ print pages in northern England.

“This will result in some roles at the Telegraph’s offices in London being carried out at a dedicated Telegraph production unit at the PA’s offices in Howden, Yorkshire,” a Telegraph spokeswoman said in a statement.

It’s happening in newspapers around the globe, and, while I agree that templates are a solution, and my team and I create templates for our clients, always expanding on the required number and trying to make sure that room is always allowed for serendipity.  More templates means more possibilities for surprises.

But, no matter how one looks at it, quality suffers a bit, especially when staff is cut down. In the case of the Telegraph, I read that fewer subeditors (copy editors) will be in place.

 

Template Tips

Templates are a reality, however. My tips for those contemplating a series of templates to expedite production with fewer editors at hand:

 

  1. Create realistic templates for routine treatment of news.
  2. Create templates that allow for creativity in design.
  3. Always have an almost blank canvas of a template where the necessary furniture of folios, logos, etc. is there, but the designer has the freedom to improvise.

Remember, especially with a printed newspaper, the reader expects surprises. When the product becomes visually monotonous, it is another reason NOT to want to come to the print edition of the newspaper.

I still think that the 60/40 formula works best.

 

Speaking Engagements Coming Up

VOZ Media Conference

April 6
Vienna, Austria

I will be the keynote speaker for this event, my presentation titled The important role of print in the digital age. This presentation presents a state of the media today, with emphasis on how we tell stories visually on mobile devices, the role of print and the importance of email newsletters and sponsored content to find new ways of promoting content and monetizing your operation.

For more informationhttp://www.voez.at/b2039m10

 

TheMarioBlog post #2599

 

 

 

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