D.R.: Same old Time
It must be in vogue now for the major league publications to talk up how they’ve changed, become “forward-looking,” made their work clearer and more compelling and blah, blah, blah with their big new hot redesign.
Nice. Only, the makeover looks pretty much like the same old pub. What changed, really?
The Wall Street Journal shrunk its size by 20 percent (but good news, the news only shrunk by 10 percent!) but otherwise looks exactly the same despite a lot of hot air about dramatic change. They devoted an entire section of their paper to touting all these big changes. Maybe to them. I don’t see more than a hair’s difference from the “old” Journal.
And now my Time this week included one of those breathless editor’s columns about all this change they’ve made to the magazine, along with the usual furious patting of their own backs about how great they were before and now, well, they’re even better! Sweet Jesus we’re full of ourselves.
I read for the humor of such earnest claptrap, because I’m in the business (if fortunately in the hinterlands of said business), and the Vail Daily and Vail Trail are in the midst of redesigns themselves.
The Trail really is remaking itself, issue by issue, stepping back to the future as a newsweekly for the Vail Valley. The Daily is ready for a freshening up. We’ve run with the same look for five-six years now.
The Daily should remain familiar, I think. We’ve been making subtle improvements pretty steadily over the years. Most recently, we changed the format of the commentary section to freshen up the voices there and commit to a daily house editorial that’s clear it’s a house editorial. And our Arts and Entertainment section is evolving to Arts and Living. I think Arts and Living Editor Cassie Pence will start with the new name this Friday. The content has been moving that way over the past several weeks.
The Trail is on its way to looking quite different than it has. We’re looking at a different size, higher quality paper, and much different vibe than Vail’s original newspaper has had in the past eight years, at least.
Now that will be a redesign. And I’m sure we’ll want to write some hideous editor’s column touting all that. I just hope we’ll avoid our big bretheren’s ridiculous cliches and corporate speak in explaining it all when we get there.
The Daily aims to refresh. We’ll have better typography, spacing and overall design sense, I’m thinking. Our consultants hope we’ll approach the news better, write better, edit better, use the visuals much better, in general do everything better.
What I love about this pursuit, journalism, is we can get better, always. There is no arrival, just room to improve. And about as soon as we get it consistently, well, we’re probably going stale and need to freshen up again.
Just so we don’t write those tired old editor’s statements about it.