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The imminent end of the newspaper homepage is often predicted, but Dr. Mario Garcia predicted that it will be replaced by “thousands of front pages” every day.
With every social media link serving as a point of entry to the newspaper and its content, the challenge, Garcia told mediaXchange 2016 attendees, is “how you make people read that second article.”
A consultant and senior adviser for news design at Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism, Garcia pointed to the “card” approach to designing social media links–self-contained, easily shareable packages with headlines, graphics, and the newspaper’s brand, often abbreviated to a single icon or letter to be recognizable across platforms ranging from watches to tablets. This modular approach is already being used to inform newspaper website design–with advertising presented as one of many “cards” in modular or carousel-style web layouts. It may also drive further experiments in print design, which continues to move away from traditional constraints and assumptions about the number of stories and amount of text to feature, he said.
Print, Garcia added, will remain a powerful draw for readers in the future, as even those publishers who discontinue daily editions will continue to devote time and resources to robust weekend editions with which readers can “lean back” and disconnect from always-on media.
“In print you can surprise, do something that’s different, and readers will appreciate it,” Garcia said.
Print can also help build stronger online businesses, according to Raju Narisetti, News Corp.’s senior vice president for strategy. News Corp. took Mansion, a print section from The Wall Street Journal focused on high-end real estate, and used it to build out a standalone website, Mansion Global, which combines print content with six- and seven-figure online transactions through a partnership with Sotheby’s. The approach offers a model, Narisetti argued, to “go from disrupted to being the disruptor.”
“Like all media companies, we fought the wrong battle by desperately trying to hang on to classifieds,” he said. Now that competitors are investing heavily in content to generate stickiness for the online sites they created, newspapers have the opportunity to “leverage our content” to develop businesses that rival existing online competitors, according to Narisetti.
“We are all good at this in this room,” he said.
Members of the News Media Alliance staff have contributed to this post.