Is this 'the future of news'?

Information designer Oliver Reichenstein at iA (Information Architects) has been doing some really smart work on the disruption in old media that's causing a rethinking by everyone from USA Today and The Wall Street Journal to your hometown newspaper or Web site, essentially what and who survives in the shift in media power.

There's some good stuff on branding, information design and people's experiences with what we all create, including these tips ...
  1. Use the same design elements on- and offline.
  2. Stop giving your website the silly and disqualifying >>Online<< attribute. Online news should be as reliable and brand worthy as your print edition.
  3. Show in print which words are links in the online edition by either underlining linked words or coloring them. Links in print make sense as links usually denote keywords that help the user scan and thus quickly understand the article.
Download the whole story in PDF form, which includes the full text of Oliver's post in book form with some good visuals on the transformation afoot. And let us know what you think about all this change.

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Blogger Tyson said...

A great read. The gamut of issues it covers (ranging from content decisions and editorial processes to typography and advertising specs) is a reminder how extreme a magnitude of change the Web presents for traditional news organizations.

Some of my favorite points:

• "We really can’t be bothered with 19th century data delivery anymore. We want to be able to quickly see if an article is worth reading. We want to see key points, sources and logic structure of the story before we dedicate our sparse time to it."

• "The integration of old media into new media is inevitable. It follows considerably solid law: 'The content of a medium is always another medium.' That newspapers will turn into a luxury good within the next 10 years seems obvious. Paper cannot compete with neither the production cost nor the production time of new media. That TV is going to transform and become part of the Internet is technically obvious."

• "Filtering information has replaced controlling it. Filtering is a very solid business, and it continues to be."

• "Good newspapers are intelligent soap operas. Why do you make it so hard for your reader to review the old episodes of the amazing macho show The War on Terror or the award winning political thriller series Scooter Libby or the award winning tragedy Britney Spears?"

Wednesday, April 11, 2007 1:32:00 AM  
Blogger Matt Mansfield said...

Thanks for helping hit more of the highlights, Tyson ... When I read this piece, it was a great confirmation and distillation of what I know to be true about the opportunities we have as information designers, but it was told in such a simple, intuitive way that I felt compelled to share it. As they used to say (a lot) when I was in middle school: Pass it on!

Wednesday, April 11, 2007 2:15:00 AM  
Blogger Denise said...

I don't like the repeated exhortations to let readers edit stories, especially stories that are not finished yet, and paying readers to write their own articles.

There's a good section on making advertisements easier on the readers' eyes, but in the middle is this: "Sell the books you cite, the CDs and DVDs you discuss. . ." Hello, how is that objective? (The rest of the book tells us to be MORE objective, not LESS.)

Here's another opinion I think is naive: "Closing your archives is not smart. It is ignorant and financially stupid. How much money do you make with your paid access? How much money would you make if you sold advertisement on those old articles instead?"

Um, less. How do you sell ads that no one might ever look at? Especially with such a giant resource as archives. That just makes no sense.

Lord knows I'm not against progress, or the Internet revolution. I know things have to change and I am not resisting, just excited. I just think some of this person's ideas are unrealistic at best, just plain wrong at worst.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007 1:44:00 PM  

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