The News Tribune Redesigns With Print Audience In Mind
Posted: 2/14/2013  |  By: Nu Yang
While most newspaper publishers are shifting their design attention to websites and digital applications, The News Tribune in Tacoma, Wash., is doing the opposite.  

The daily publication launched its new design last November. Executive editor Karen Peterson announced the new look in an article a few days before the launch. “We’re going to design a newspaper for newspaper readers. Hard-core newspaper readers. Readers who crave the feel of newsprint in their hands. Readers who aren’t ashamed to say they prefer their news the old-fashioned way — on paper.”  

Assistant managing editor of visuals David Montesino led the redesign, with three other staff members helping with certain parts of the project. Montesino said the process started last May, although the idea originated at the beginning of last year.  

The News Tribune had previously redesigned the paper three years ago, but Montesino said that this latest design is set apart, because everything was done with the print lover in mind. He said the bulk of that paper’s circulation is home delivery subscriptions, and that most readers don’t get the paper through rack sales.  

Montesino said he studied archives from the 1930s and ’40s to “get back to (the paper’s) roots.”  

“Doing the redesign in-house meant having more control over the process,” he said. “Since we did not have a whole lot of time to complete this project, it was helpful to be able to respond to the conversations around the room about content and have those conclusions reflected in prototypes in real time.”  

A panel of News Tribune readers also provided input during several sessions to “bounce ideas off,” Montesino said.  

In her article, Peterson explained that the redesign would include a new flag bearing the paper’s name and a redesigned drawing of Mt. Rainier and the Tacoma skyline; a new headline type and new headline philosophy, where headlines will run large for big stories and small for news that is less important; more stories on each page; the same story type running ragged right instead of justified; columnists at the top of each page; and a new reader feedback section.  

Montesino said he has heard positive feedback from staff, readers, and advertisers, and that the overall goal is to increase and then maintain circulation numbers. He’s happy with the message sent by redesigning with the print reader in mind.  

“The bulk of our readers still love print … we’re not getting out of digital, but we’re thinking multi-channel these days. We’re offering improvements to our specific sectors. It’s not one size fits all; we’re addressing who needs what,” he said.