The News & Observer of Raleigh, N.C. — my own newspaper home for the early-to-mid 1990s — launched a redesign this morning.
On the left is a front page from last December. On the right is today’s edition.
There are a number of changes here — many you won’t see on the front — but the major one is a change to the nameplate Mario Garcia and Kate Anthony designed 19 years ago:
Here’s a closer look at the new one, reportedly designed by designer/copy editor Rogelio Aranda and Robin Johnston, director of operations and design for the McClatchy Publishing Center in Charlotte:
Hmm. I’m not sure I like it better. But it does, at least, eliminate a couple of kerning issues that have bothered me lately in the old nameplate (between the first E and R and especially between the V and the E).
For comparison purposes, here is a front page from December 1994, compared to today’s new front:
And here’s a closer look at the new front:
In a column at the bottom of today’s A1, N&O editor John Drescher lists a few of the changes:
- A narrower front page, but a change from a six-column grid to a five-column grid. This makes the paper “easier to read,” he writes.
- Increased web references and tweets on page two of the A and sports sections; plus a daily feature offering excerpts from sports bloggers.
- A new movie review roundup on Fridays.
- New decorating and gardening columns on Saturdays.
- A (fairly substantial) reduction in the number of daily comic strips.
Last fall, corporate parent McClatchy moved design and copy editing functions of the News & Observer — and those of another of my former newspaper homes, the Herald of Rock Hill, S.C. — to Charlotte.
Average daily circulation for the N&O is 127,138.
Full disclosure: I interviewed at the News & Observer the very weekend Mario’s redesign launched. I started there a month later — in April 1993 — and worked there until I was hired away by the Chicago Tribune in October 1996.
This very morning here in Abuja, Nigeria, I showed a bunch of old N&O pages — including that vintage one above — in the process of talking about breaking news infographics.
UPDATE – 9:47 p.m. West African Time
Rogelio Aranda writes via Twitter:
I can only clarify your anon source’s claim about my role, which was mainly CCI support.
I stand corrected. My apologies, Rogelio.
For what it’s worth, I asked two McClatchy managers involved in this project for comment and additional information and offered to post additional pages, should they care to send any. I received no reply.