Newspapers are in the process of being disrupted. You can see it in the world around you. I can’t tell you the last time I picked up a newspaper. Maybe I picked up the Daily Tar Heel if I had a few extra minutes on my way to class, but this is by no means a common occurrence. I’m confident that a lot of my generation feels the same way. Printed news is on the fall, and it’s falling fast.
Statistics on the state of the media, however, show that online news, however, has increased it’s revenue. When searching for solutions in how to save the paper, this is a large factor. Print is losing revenue specifically to online news. So what does online news have that print doesn’t? There are many answers to this question, and they are all equally important to address when theorizing on the best mechanisms for saving print from disruption. Online news can provide consumers with:
- convenient access to news from anywhere with an internet connection
- faster, more efficient, and up-to-the-second updates on breaking news reports
- video and other audio visuals
- a more consumer-friendly and pleasing to the eye design layout
Some of these attributes are beyond the newspapers capabilities (that is-the current newspaper, in ten years the “newspaper” may be a whole new sort of technical device, but for now let’s assume we stick with our current version). What our current newspaper model does have the ability to improve on is this last difference: its graphic design and layout. Great visuals are the reason most would pick up a National Geographic, they are why people frequent art museums and art festivals. We even enjoy viewing people on magazines if we deem them pleasing to look at. Designs are fun, and as humans we are attracted to pleasing visuals. Graphics and pleasing visuals stimulate our brains in different ways than print and bold headlines.
Jacek Utko is an extraordinary Polish newspaper designer. Inspired by Cirque de Soleil’s vision to redesign the typical, run of the mill circus, Utko has been redesigning papers in Eastern Europe. His designs not only win awards, but increase circulation by up to 100%. So can just good design save the newspaper? Would this work in America? I think that as a creative population, it just might.