The Mario Blog
10.15.2013—8am
Breaking news in digital world: what’s the role of design?

TAKEAWAY: Since we now have the ability to present breaking news when it happens and as it evolves, does that mean that the role of design is diminished?

TAKEAWAY: Since we now have the ability to present breaking news when it happens and as it evolves, does that mean that the role of design is diminished?

blog post image

Here is how The Montreal Gazette broke the news of Alice Munro winning the Nobel Prize for Literature

blog post image

The National Post

blog post image

The Globe and Mail

blog post image

The Star

blog post image

A follow up story in The Montreal Gazette

It was big and happy breaking news for Canadians last week when Alice Munro, the renowned short-story writer whose work explores the never-easy relationships between men and women, won the 2013 Nobel Prize in Literature.

Almost every Canadian newspaper “stopped the presses” to report Ms. Munro’s award. At a time when most breaking news is negative , this was a positive, happy one that would instill pride in every Canadian.

In Montreal, The Gazette, incorporated a playful O Alice headline for its tablet edition.

Walter Buchignani, tablet edition editor, sent us a pdf of his work that day, along with how other Canadian newspapers covered. He also included a timely question:

Obviously this is a big story for us. But does visual impact count in the digital age? Or is it sufficient to label it your top story? Some Canadian examples as the story broke …

Walter included the examples you see here. Walter’s question is one that I have heard before, and always within the following context:

Since we have the ability to update mobile devices instantly, the moment news breaks, then it is not necessary for the design itself to shout, not the way you would in a print edition (of the past), coming out hours after an event took place.

I like what Walter did both the first and second days, assigning via the design, a sense of importance, hierarchy, pomp and circumstance to a story that deserved it.

I don’t equate our ability to break news when it happens with giving it a less impactful visual treatment. Remember, the audience gets visual clues about the importance and consequence of a story via the design, not to mention that there is that important element of visual seduction.

If I have one observation as to why design may not play a key role in the display of breaking news on mobile devices, it is that in a majority of cases there is no art direction involved. Many of our mobile devices work from pure templates, almost 100%. Breaking news filters automatically to the devices and perhaps only a LATEST NEWS label is what differentiates it from the rest. Not that it has to be, but just the reality of the situation. Obviously, in the case of the Montreal Gazette, art direction, reacting visually to the breaking news, is possible.

To me, the Gazette treatments enhanced the power of the story. Well done.

TheMarioBlog post # 1356
Blog Post11.21.2017—1am
So 2017 was really NOT the year of video……
Blog Post11.20.2017—1am
The New York Times: the Spanish weekly
Blog Post11.17.2017—5am
Paywalls, storytelling highlight Latin American conference
Blog Post11.15.2017—5am
In Argentina: the hot topic is “paywalls”
Blog Post11.14.2017—1am
The NY Times’ Jobs Classified: Really?
Blog Post11.13.2017—1am
At The New York Times: a kids section on Sunday
Blog Post11.10.2017—12am
“I read it on Facebook.”
Blog Post11.09.2017—12am
The flow of a breaking new story in the mobile era
Blog Post11.08.2017—12am
When content hits the spot
Blog Post11.07.2017—12am
When hierarchy makes a statement
Blog Post11.06.2017—12am
When the advertising wraps around
Blog Post11.03.2017—1am
New Hebrew fonts from Typotheque
Blog Post11.02.2017—1am
Favorite branding logos? No surprises
Blog Post11.01.2017—7am
A New York terrorist attack on the front pages
Blog Post—1am
White (space) is the new trend for print
Blog Post10.31.2017—1am
Turkey: the jailing of an art director
Blog Post10.30.2017—1am
Need a job?
Blog Post10.27.2017—2am
The Economist & Snapchat Discover: Respecting young audiences
Blog Post10.26.2017—2am
The Wall: Get ready for the prototypes
Blog Post10.25.2017—5am
The New York Times’ website redesign: less is best and, please, sign in
Blog Post10.24.2017—5am
At The Washington Post, The Lily hits its own chords
Blog Post—5am
The Lily: new Washington Post product hits its own chords
Blog Post10.23.2017—1am
Coloring opinions
Blog Post10.20.2017—1am
Digital Media Conference: First Day highlights
Blog Post10.19.2017—6am
Speaking today at the North America Digital Media Conference
Blog Post10.18.2017—1am
Long narratives still have a coveted place
Blog Post10.17.2017—1am
Some good print-related news
Blog Post10.16.2017—1am
Digital Transformation: no newsroom is too small to attempt it
Blog Post10.13.2017—12am
WAN IFRA: the best of digital awards
Blog Post10.12.2017—12am
Taking your brand to where the young audience is: Instagram
Blog Post10.11.2017—1am
Multitaskers consume more media
Blog Post10.10.2017—12am
Germany’s Sūdkurier: workshops for digital transformation
Blog Post10.09.2017—1am
In Spain’s El Mundo: native ads
Blog Post09.29.2017—1am
For newspaper publishers, not much to sing about?
Blog Post09.28.2017—1am
Interesting reference about new digital story formats
Blog Post09.27.2017—1am
It’s a new mobile-focused redesign for salon.com
Blog Post09.26.2017—1am
Three things that caught our eye
Blog Post09.25.2017—1am
Paywalls & newspapers: from leaky to hard ones, and in between
Blog Post09.22.2017—4am
Mexican earthquake: front pages tell the story
Blog Post09.21.2017—1am
Saying adios to The Village Voice in print
Contact us with speaking requests, questions or to discuss a project.