Storytelling keeps print fresh for the future

Storytelling still forms the heart of print’s future, according to Mario Garcia (pictured right) and Adrian Norris (pictured left), speakers at the Proudly Print session during the 2011 INK+BEYOND conference.

Speaking before an audience of about 200 newspaper delegates from across Canada, Mario Garcia reassured the group that the future of the industry is still strong because of the power of content.

“The story is still what’s important,” he said.

In his work with Garcia Media, Garcia helps news organizations around the world redesign their papers to meet the changing needs of readers. He looks to get publishers to embrace new models of storytelling that include not only immediate updates in the forms of alerts and reports, but also maintain longer forms of journalism like traditional newspaper stories and in-depth tablet articles.

The changes are often tough for publishers and editors to consider, but Garcia insists they are necessary to keep the industry alive and vibrant.

“No pain, no gain,” he said, “print thrives and it changes.”

Part of that change comes in the way that newspapers view what news is and how it can be presented. “This is not the time for cosmetic exercises,” said Garcia. He wants newspapers to show some “cojonas” and makes real changes in how they present content and design.

One of the papers embracing the philosophy of bold change is The Globe and Mail. In October 2010, the paper launched a redesign that included full colour on every page, custom typeface and a more magazine-style presentation.

Adrian Norris took the podium during the latter part of the Proudly Print session to explain what it took to make the redesign happen. As The Globe and Mail’s managing editor of design and presentation, Norris took the lead in the year and a half project.

“We wanted people to engage with us,” said Norris. The redesign had the paper move to a new size, new paper and a new style that’s fresh, but still keeps with the paper’s tradition of quality journalism.

The Globe’s new format embraces colour and breaks down stories into bite-sized pieces of news that compliment the conventional long-form journalism that the newspaper is known for.

“It’s all about content,” said Norris.

And he means content in all forms: advertising, photography and articles. That’s why the Globe and Mail invested $1.7 billion in the project. So far that investment is paying off. Since the re-launch, the newspaper’s circulation numbers are up 4.4 percent.

That gives both Norris and Garcia hope for the future of newspapers and print.

It may look slightly different and be used alongside other media, but people will still want to hear stories, said Garcia. “There is no better time to tell stories with all the platforms we have.”

Click here to view slides from Adrian Norris’ presentation on The Globe and Mail’s redesign »