I got an email from my friend Chuck this morning pointing me to the recent overhaul of the print edition of my hometown paper, the San Antonio Express News

The Express-News writes about the redesign:

It's hardly breaking news: We're all awash in a flood of information, coming from an ever-growing number of sources.  We know our readers are more informed, more wired – and yes, much more busy taking it all in. 

So it's time that the Express-News front page reflect that reality.  Change comes today with a new format designed around two key goals.  First, we are providing readers with a larger menu of items, allowing the front page to be a better window into the rest of the paper.  Second, we're doing more to emphasize and develop our best story of the day, focusing as much as possible on local news you won't find anywhere else. 

Sounds good.  A couple of points here:

  • Just last week I was at a conference where NYU Professor Mitchell Stephens held up a copy of the New York Times print edition that featured a 22-hour old lead story about John and Elizabeth Edwards.  This story had been the hot topic on the web and cable news channels the day before.  Stephens asked how print newspapers expect to remain relevant if they highlight this kind of generic and dated content. 

    The approach of the Express-News seems like a good start.  I think they will serve their community better by focusing on local news and highlighting one longer piece of original reporting each day.

  • In his email to me, Chuck pointed out that the new print edition is inspired by web design to some extent.  It follows the three-column format and features little highlights from the paper in the right and left columns.  Not a bad idea.

As a long time reader of the San Antonio Express-News, I think this is a nice step forward for the print edition.  However, now that I live in Washington, DC I only read the Express-News print edition around ten times a year.  I visit the website a couple of times a week. 

Their website is horrible and I don't think it has changed much in five years.  So, in the end, I wish they'd spend as much time and money reinventing their website as they did tweaking their slowly dying print edition.

About the Author
Todd Zeigler
Todd Zeigler serves as the Brick Factory’s chief strategist and oversees the operations of the firm. In his sixteen year career in digital, he has planned and implemented campaigns for clients including the Pickens Plan, International Youth Foundation, Panthera, Edison Electric Institute, and the American Chemistry Council. Todd develops ambitious online advocacy programs, manages crises, implements online marketing strategies, and develops custom applications and software. He is bad at golf though.