The Mario Blog
How the young read their news: get ready to be surprised

TAKEAWAY: Guess what? Those millenials don’t read news much more differently than their parents and grandparents—-except they almost exclusively read it on a mobile device.

TAKEAWAY: Guess what? Those millenials don’t read news much more differently than their parents and grandparents—-except they almost exclusively read it on a mobile device.

blog post image
Image from

I recently got a chuckle after reading this piece in The Atlantic with a summary that reads:

For all the attention given to “bold rich multi-media experiences,” young mobile news readers still prefer stories the way their great-great-grandparents did: In columns of text.

The article, based on a new report from the Pew Research Center (pdf) suggests that, when it comes to reading the news on mobile devices, young people aren’t so different.

Not that they were different about viewing and digesting content in print, either. And here is where you find me smiling and shaking my head.

For years, I have never understood why editors and designers believe that for a newspaper page to be “attractive” to young people, it had to incorporate an element of “cutesiness”, or do one of the following:

-Use slanted headlines or photos

-Use typographic elements that were not part of the newspaper’s palette (yes, you guessed right, this opened the door for chambers of typographic horror, as editors favored type that looked crazy, was hard to read and created an eyesore on the page)

-**Turn the page upside down** to make it “more fun”.

None of these ever worked, and I always insisted that young people digested their food the same way older folks did, just as their eyes favored order, not chaos, and one did not have to make an effort to go visually crazy to appeal to the young.

(By the way, it is worth remembering at this point that the same misconceptions are there when editors wish to create a down market product for the not so educated: let chaos rule the day! How wrong can they be. To be perhaps not so well educated or financially advantaged does not mean we want to read chaotic pages in a newspaper or magazine.)

In the digital era

Today, “cutesiness” for the young translates into a razzle dazzle of special effects sometimes.

So, amen to this Pew research study that tells us, among other things:

First, millenials use their tablets and smartphones to read the news at nearly identical rates to 30- and 40-somethings

Young mobile readers don’t want apps and mobile browsers that look like the future. They want apps that look like the past: 58% of those under 50, and 60% of Millennials, prefer a “print-like experience” over tech features like audio, video, and complex graphics

18-to 29-year-old tablet news users touch or click on ads when getting news to a far greater degree than older generations

Food for thought for all of us in this business. And, a reminder, that youth is not necessarily wasted on the young, but that we older folks do waste too much time orchestrating things the way we think these youngsters would want it.

Time to rethink our strategy for the young, while rejoicing in the fact that they are quite smart, after all.

For more about the Pew study:

The Demographics of Mobile News: Men, College Grads and the Young are More Engaged

The Demographics of Mobile News

La Nueva: the first Sunday edition after redesign

Last week we were in Bahia Blanca, Argentina, for the launch of La Nueva with a new format (conversion to tabloid), new name (shortened from La Nueva Provincia to La Nueva), and even a new logo. These are pages from the first Sunday edition after the redesign, courtesy of Jose Luis Ponte, editor in charge of layout and design.

blog post image

blog post image

blog post image

blog post image

blog post image

blog post image

A Twitter story

Riding Bus 19 to the top

Here is a story totally told via 140-character tweets by Billy Baker, a reporter for The Boston Globe

Of special interest today:

Register-Guard’s smartphone strategy starts with responsive design platform


Redesign takes site from mobile unfriendly to traffic that doubled in six months and is bringing in revenue.

TheMarioBlog post # 1400
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
Blog Post04.28.2017—2am
And now the annual report via Virtual Reality
Blog Post04.27.2017—2am
Digital down market? Yep, it’s the HuffPost’
Blog Post04.26.2017—2am
When digital products transition to print
Blog Post04.24.2017—9pm
Agustin Edwards: Death of a media patriarch
Blog Post04.22.2017—8am
The best designed newspapers in the world
Blog Post04.21.2017—1am
It’s Allium, Cyrus Highsmith’s new font creation
Blog Post04.20.2017—1am
For mobile ads, too, scrolling is the way to go
Blog Post04.19.2017—1am
NYT: Linear, visual storytelling at its best
Blog Post04.18.2017—1am
Gulf News: the evolution of sponsored content in Dubai
Blog Post04.12.2017—1am
Austria: The marketing of a newspaper
Blog Post04.11.2017—1am
NYT: What a difference a continent makes
Blog Post04.10.2017—1am
High school journalists’ investigative work produces results
Blog Post04.07.2017—1am
Some interesting weekend reads: innovation, new products, new numbers
Blog Post04.06.2017—1am
Print can be big, too
Blog Post04.05.2017—2am
The first Spanish-language newspaper for children is here
Blog Post04.04.2017—1am
Design thinking for journalists, why not?
Blog Post04.03.2017—2am
It’s a new look for the Las Vegas Review Journal
Blog Post03.31.2017—2am
Highlights of my webinar
Blog Post03.30.2017—7am
It’s the era of templates
Blog Post03.29.2017—1am
The role of print in my students’ lives
Blog Post03.28.2017—1am
Journalists and cocktail parties: not a happy mojito these days
Blog Post03.27.2017—1am
Financial Times: new look, new campaign (with readers as the main event)
Blog Post03.24.2017—2am
Mobile, news and Latin America: highlights of a conference
Blog Post03.23.2017—1am
For journalism students: learning about linear/visual storytelling
Contact us with speaking requests, questions or to discuss a project.