The Mario Blog
It’s the new storytelling, the new editing, the new design

The New York Times is offering buyouts for editors amid a much-anticipated reduction of the editing staff. Like newspapers worldwide, the Times perhaps will add staff as well, all part of the ever changing landscape of how we report, edit and design the news for consumption in the digital age.

The New York Times will offer a buyout program for editors as it continues to change the way it reports, edits and packages the news.

The buyout program will also be offered to some staffers across the newsroom, according to a memo sent to the newsroom this morning by Executive Editor Dean Baquet and Managing Editor Joe Kahn.

 A highlight of the memo:

“Our goal is to preserve meticulous text editing while meeting the demands of digital, which requires more speed and more visual storytelling. We have also said that we expect some reductions in the size of the newsroom, including in the editing staff.”

And a telling part of the story: A New York Times spokesperson said the newsroom has been experimenting with new ways to edit and publish stories for several months.

The challenges and the opportunities

I know that many reading the news of the Times offering buyouts and making cuts among its editing team will immediately raise red flags of concern. We, too, feel that newspapers need more editing, not less, and we have expressed that here:

I hope that the Times, as well as newspapers everywhere, will be able to find a comfort zone where the speed of digital journalism can accommodate the essentials of good copy editing. An extra set of eyeballs on a story could make all the difference.

However, we also continue to see a transformation in how stories are told, and how mobile devices demand not just speed, but also a different way for how to present information that will be consumed on smartphones and other portable devices.  The Times is a pioneer and a leader in the area of visual storytelling for mobile.

As a reader, I am appreciative of the way stories of the day are told at the Times.  As a journalism professor and media consultant, I study in detail the role that writing, editing and design play in how those stories are told.  As a veteran of our business, I know well how traditional “copy editing” works and do not underestimate its value. That extra set of eyeballs reading copy is the key to quality, accurateness and credibility of a piece.

However, there is more to the “editing” process in the way we tell stories today, what I call linear thinking with emphasis on visual storytelling.

The process begins with a writer/reporter who is aware that her story will be shown as a fusion of text and visuals. The writer works closely with a visual storyteller (designer) who helps with the process of weaving together the narrative and the visuals. The fact that there are already TWO staffers involved in the process helps to make sure that editing and fact checking will take place as the story develops. This is very different from the traditional process of reporter writing story alone, passing it to a copy editor to read, perhaps getting the story back for corrections, then a designer coming in for the final treatment of the story as it gets ready for publication.

Here is a recent Times story that shows vividly what I am talking about:

While accuracy is still paramount, the way a story will be consumed on a mobile device is very different from how it might be read on other platforms, including print.

It is not just traditional copy editing that has changed, but also traditional design and the role it plays.

I believe that we should not see The Times’ buyout as doing away with the valuable editing process, and more like an opening to new ways of producing and designing copy for publication. It will also necessitate new staffers who understand the new process.

The idea of a reporter and a visual storyteller working side by side has always been a dream for as long as I can remember, and long before the digital era. The way we consume news today makes that alliance essential.

The reader wins!

The Manchester Concert attack on the front pages

Speaking Engagements Coming Up

SIPConnect 2017, to be held in Miami June 21-23, is a program of the Inter American Press Association, IAPA, or SIP (Sociedad Interamericana de Prensa).  The venue will be the Hilton Miami Downtown Hotel.


Join us at the SIPConnect Hemispheric Conference 2017. Organized by the IAPA, SIPConnect is a gathering of media and digital businesses to encourage more audiences and higher revenues. It’s a laboratory for new ideas and successful experiences for the digital transformation. As in the 2016 successful meeting that was attended by media from the US, Latin America and the Caribbean, experts in digital businesses and representatives of innovative companies will participate in this event.

For more information

 TheMarioBlog post #2635

Blog Post06.27.2017—12am
Goldman Sachs and the economics of design
Blog Post06.26.2017—1am
Trump, lies and storytelling
Blog Post06.23.2017—1am
Here’s Exchange, the new Frere-Jones font: it projects calm, authority
Blog Post06.22.2017—1am
The word “redesign” should be retired
Blog Post06.21.2017—1am
IAPA’s Digital Summit 2017 opens today in Miami
Blog Post06.20.2017—1am
Senior citizens read news on their mobile platforms! Surprise!
Blog Post06.19.2017—1am
Italy: we create new logo for The Post Internazionale
Blog Post06.16.2017—1am
Forget the one headline fits all theory!
Blog Post06.15.2017—1am
Change in newsroom goes beyond just a protocol statement
Blog Post06.14.2017—12am
Telling the story with just quotes
Blog Post06.13.2017—12am
How US front pages displayed the Comey story
Blog Post06.12.2017—12am
Making those complicated Washington political stories more visually interesting.
Blog Post06.09.2017—1am
Attracting young audiences (2)–Snapchat Discover
Blog Post06.08.2017—1am
Montreal’s La Presse+ says adieu to print!
Blog Post06.07.2017—1am
Attracting those younger readers (1): one gift subscription at a time
Blog Post06.06.2017—1am
The battle for your ears
Blog Post06.05.2017—1am
Quick ways to tell stories
Blog Post06.02.2017—1am
Garcia Media turns 25!
Blog Post06.01.2017—1am
It’s social media the publisher
Blog Post05.31.2017—1am
Before you get the room, read the Airbnb Magazine
Blog Post05.30.2017—1am
It’s a new homepage for The Atlantic
Blog Post05.26.2017—1am
New book: Designing for Touch
Blog Post05.25.2017—1am
Medium redesigns homepage: curated content is the key
Blog Post05.24.2017—1am
It’s the new storytelling, the new editing, the new design
Blog Post05.23.2017—1am
Millennials and their obsession with their phones—publishers, take note!
Blog Post05.22.2017—1am
Spiegel Daily: the German magazine’s new product
Blog Post05.19.2017—1am
Another day, another Trump bombshell for the front pages
Blog Post05.18.2017—1am
From digital to print: another example
Blog Post05.16.2017—6am
Trump bombshell news lands on the front pages
Blog Post—1am
For The Guardian: one contributor at a time
Blog Post05.15.2017—1am
The New York Times banks on kids: never too early!
Blog Post05.12.2017—1am
Good guide to e-newsletters that catch the reader’s attention
Blog Post05.10.2017—2pm
The firing of the FBI Director on Page One
Blog Post—1am
Sarasota Herald Tribune gets new look
Blog Post05.08.2017—8am
The Macron victory in France through the front pages
Blog Post—1am
Tony Awards: And the winner so far…..
Blog Post05.05.2017—1am
And now Dubai has its own font!
Blog Post05.04.2017—7am
The NYTimes’ Sketchbook: great visual solutions
Blog Post05.03.2017—1am
The luxury of paper
Blog Post05.02.2017—1am
Trump: 100 days and the front pages
Contact us with speaking requests, questions or to discuss a project.