The Mario Blog
05.10.2009—1pm
Sunday readings: And now the newspaper as dress

TAKEAWAY: Oh, the lure and fascination with the printed newspaper! It doesn’t go away, even when printed newspapers seem to be having a tough time conquering new readers.
Now, the newspaper dress is here.

Turning newsprint into fashion newsworthy

blog post image
Fashion designer Isaac Mizrahi with the dress he created exclusively for USA Today with pages from the newspaper; photo by Stan Godlewski for USA TODAY

Forget the Kindle.
Forget the newspaper on demand at the kiosk or on your iPhone.
Yes, it is the newspaper as dress that has the fashion world seeing black and white.

Yes, we all have seen the tacky shower curtain with headlines from old British tabloids: read the headlines while you shower.

And, yes, we have seen the tacky newspaper-inspired table place mats, and I even saw once an apron inspired by an old front page of The New York Times.. Over the years, well intentioned friends and family have presented me with “newspaper anything” as I call it. Yes, I, too, have those hideous boxer shorts inspired by 1950s newspaper front pages. And, no, I have never put them on. You never know when you will have to drop your pants in public, or in an emergency room.

However, now one of the hot fashion designers of the moment, Isaac Mizrahi, has taken newsprint to the next highest level, a dress, and I am just hoping that Sarah Jessica Parker and her Sex and the City friends will like it enough to wear one in the sequel to Sex in the City: The Movie.

USA TODAY presented designer Mizrahi, the co-host and judge of Bravo’s new fashion competition reality show, The Fashion with a “ cut-and-stitch challenge of his own: Transform a stack of humble newspapers into an elegant garment.”

Mizrahi did, with great results.

Not that it will do much to help the industry, but, gosh, why not? If the girls in Sex in the City can wear a newspaper dress to go with their Manolos or Jimmy Choos, then many of their followers will see newspapers as necessary items, chic and cool. Maybe they will even buy them to read them. After all, Carrie Bradshaw is a newspaper columnist. Let’s not forget that.

Calling First Lady Michelle Obama: yes, your husband, President Obama, has said (and we love him for this, too) that he loves the feel of a newspaper. So, the full marketing strategy would be complete in grand style if you, Mrs. Obama, decide to wear a newspaper dress. To avoid conflict of interest, I suggest that your designer weave your newspaper from newspaper pages from across the nation.

Subheads: why not at The New York Times?

If there is one element of navigation that I would never leave out of a project, it is subheads, those mini headlines that one puts in the middle of long columns of text, to advance the story, to guide the reader, and, in some instances, to lure readers who might not have started reading the article at the beginning, but who see a mini subhead that entices them.

So, as I read today’s New York Times, I kept wondering: such great content, such good stories, but, why not use subheads?

Case in point: a story in the Sunday Business section: Free Fall’s Over, but Where are we Landing?
Great piece, but, missing the subheads.

In case you missed these during the week….

If you only have time to read one of the links below, I suggest that you look at the first one about Google. Quite incisive about the relationship of Google and newspapers, a topic that we all know is quite controversial these days. Here is a quote that may lead you to the piece:

“Together, Google News and Google search provide a valuable free service to online newspapers specifically by sending interested readers to their sites at a rate of more than 1 billion clicks per month. Newspapers use that Web traffic to increase their readership and generate additional revenue.”

What would Google do about newspapers?
http://newsosaur.blogspot.com/2009/05/what-would-google-do-about-newspapers.html

– USA: How a 1995 court case kept the newspaper industry from competing online
http://www.ojr.org/ojr/people/robert/200905/1714/

– UK: Guardian charging for online content not true
http://www.editorsweblog.org/newspaper/2009/05/guardian_charging_for_online_content_not.php

– UK: Why Raising The Pay Wall May Be An Impossible Dream
http://www.paidcontent.co.uk/entry/419-why-raising-the-pay-wall-may-be-an-impossible-dream/

– Twitter Search to dive deeper, rank results
http://news.cnet.com/8301-17939_109-10235360-2.html

TheMarioBlog posting #257

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