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The sweet smell of success

SNDSmag_2_2015_page1shadow

Editor’s column from SNDS Magazine no. 2, 2015:

Do not try to win awards.
Do not try to follow fashion.
Be true to your subject and you will be far more likely to create something that is timeless.
That’s where the true art lies.
– Paul Arden*

Although you should not create just to win, nearly everybody likes to win awards. If the awards are given to you by colleagues or people you look up to within your profession, the feeling is especially great. Once again, Scandinavian newspapers can enjoy this feeling: In April, the jury behind the SND 37th Best of News Design competition named Dagens Nyheter (S) and Politiken (DK) “World’s Best-Designed™ Newspapers” – together with De Morgen (Belgium), and The Guardian (Britain).

The jury chose between 215 newspapers submitted from all over the world, and it’s worth noting that Dagens Nyheter wins this title for the third year in a row. Politiken is now a four time World’s Best winner, having previously received the title in 2006, 2011, and 2012.

We even had a Scandinavian runner-up this year: Svenska Dagbladet (S), (World’s Best in 2004) was among the 17 finalists.

So it’s fair to say that Scandinavian news­papers maintain world class quality, compared to regions with a much higher number of publications to choose from – and probably much higher budgets to draw from, too. This bodes well for the Scandinavian competition of which the winners will be announced in October.

In the digital competition, SND named only one “World’s Best-Designed™ Digital” winner – Facebook. This controversial decision was announced in April at the SNDDC seminar in Washington and evoked strong reactions from many in the business – even after the SND website published an extended statement (labelled by Roger Black on twitter as “sad excuses”) from the judges. We wanted to keep the discussion going a bit longer and asked leading news designers for their comment to the jury’s decision (see p. 18–20).

In February, I had the honour of serving once again as judge in the print categories of the Best of Scandinavian News Design competition. It’s such a privilege to get the opportunity to see hundreds of submitted entries representing a snapshot of Scandinavian newspaper design right now. A lot of good work, a fair amount of excellent work, and among them the few pieces that really stand out.

One unique voice this year was that of Finnish illustrator Klaus Welp – whose detailed drawings earned him an Honourable Mention and (on this issue’s cover) a nomination for a Silver or Gold Award. We wanted to see more of Klaus Welp’s work – and found out that the style used in the two winning entries is just one of his many distinct voices – see p. 22-29.

Also in this issue
Pål Nedregotten, Chief Innovation Officer at Amedia AS, Oslo looks into some of the myths that surround digital news – and argues that even though more and more people read news updates on social media it is still extremely important to have a dedicated, well-edited front page on your own website – not least to care for your most loyal readers. See p. 10–12.

We also look into a new design trend called “anti­cipatory design” which will also be a theme on the SNDS15 Conference in October. Kartin Hansen, Head of Digital Development at Jyllands-Posten, Denmark, explains the basics and wonders when the news media will jump on this trend wagon. See p. 14–15.

Anders Tapola, former SNDS President and Design Editor at Smålandsposten, Sweden found himself “last man standing” when his design department suddenly disappeared and was replaced by software tools and a centralised design hub. Read his thoughts about the pros and cons of this new situation on p. 16–17.

Finally, in case you haven’t noticed yet: the snds.org website has been updated with a new look and feel, so take a look. And while you’re there – don’t forget to check for updates to the SNDS15 conference in October.

Have a great summer!

Lars Pryds
Editor, SNDS Magazine

*In: “It’s Not How Good You Are, It’s How Good You Want To Be”, p.90. Phaidon 2003. Paul Arden (1940–2008) was a creative director for Saatchi and Saatchi at the height of their advertising might, and an influential author of several books on advertising and motivation.

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Read the online of the mag here, or sign up here to get your personal printed copy:

Embrace the visual format

Editorial from SNDS Magazine no. 4, 2014

We believe there is nothing social about online social networks, so get out from behind your screen and get to a live event, with real people, real communication, real beer, and real creative fun.”
– www.pechakucha.org

Visuals can be many things. In the previous issue of SNDS Magazine, we looked at illustration. In this issue we show you a glimpse of a live event – the SNDS Fu2i0n14 conference held in Copenhagen in October – and tell it almost only in pictures. Our photos may not say more than a thousand words, but hopefully they will convey the atmosphere and quality of the conference and encourage you to register next year.

SNDSmag_4_2014_coverA visual innovation at Fu2i0n14 was the introduction of the PechaKucha – a simple presentation format where you show 20 images, each for 20 seconds. Images advance automatically and you talk along to the images.*

Nine speakers tried their best at this very strict presentation format – Stig Ørskov, CEO of JP/Politikens Hus, Denmark, held his presentation precisely within the required timeframe of 6 minutes, 40 seconds (20 slides × 20 seconds), and Liv-Jorunn Håker from the Norwegian newspaper Sunn­mørsposten also managed to deliver a well-structured PechaKucha entitled “Get over it!” about struggling with web code. Accepting the rules of the format clearly showed what magic a great Pecha­Kucha can produce.

Now, this may be a rather formalistic observation, but in principle, no design format should be neglected – be it in a presentation, in a printed magazine or in apps as well as other digital products. Users and readers of our publications are very aware – consciously or unconsciously – that any given format has its rules and conventions. Try uploading a 20 MB jpg to your news website and watch the bounce rate of your visitors grow sky-high, or set body copy in your newspaper at an illegible five point size – it just doesn’t work.

Of course you can pretend that there are no rules – but then the rule is (!) that you have to be extremely good at inventing new stuff. And that’s a lot harder than communicating within the grid at hand.

In the magazine
Will PechaKucha be part of the new initiative SNDS Meet-up, launched in this issue (page 16)? It’s actually up to you: SNDS Meet-ups are local self-organized events, where news designers in the Scandinavian countries can socialize, exchange ideas, learn and engage in their local design-community.

Kim Bjørn came up with this great idea, and we hope you will support the project and start organizing. More info to follow on snds.org.

One of the winners in this year’s Best of Scandinavia News Design competition was the Finnish illustrator and graphic designer Anniina Louhivuori. The only winner in the new Portfolio category in the print part of the contest, we were so impressed that we wanted to see more. We’re proud to show all six entries from her award winning port­folio plus another seven examples of her great visualizing skills published in Sunnuntaisuomalainen.

In next year’s competition, there will be a few changes to the categories – which ones will be announced online and in a booklet in the beginning of January. The deadline for submitting your work is set to January 30, 2015.

Come together, right now
Our mother organization SND is running a membership drive campaign right now – asking members what their membership has meant to their life and career. We quote a few of the answers on page 14 – and the reasons for joining or renewing with SND are just as valid as reasons for joining or renewing your SNDS membership. If you want to have the best of both worlds (and who doesn’t?) you even get a discount if you sign up for a double membership at snds.org/member – see you in the club!

New board member
Speaking of members – we have a new member on the SNDS board, elected at the general assembly in Copenhagen in October. Elisabeth Svendby is Head of the design and user experience team at Amedia Utvikling, Norway, and former chief designer of Dagbladet.no. She has been a member of the digital jury of SNDS Best of Scandinavian News Design competition for several years. She is trained in graphic and web design and programming, from Østfold University College and Universität Bremen, Germany. Elisabeth Svendby replaces Lill Mostad. Welcome on board!

Finally, have a great Christmas
and a Happy New Year.

Lisbeth Tolstrup
& Lars Pryds
Editors, SNDS Magazine

* PechaKucha was devised by architects Astrid Klein and Mark Dytham in Tokyo in February 2003 as an event for young designers to meet, network and show their work in public. Sources: www.pechakucha.org, klein-dytham.com/pechakucha

 

Too strong for Facebook and Issuu

snds-magazine-fjernet-fra-facebook

The Society for News Design Scandinavia’s Facebook page has, among other great stuff, a photo album showing all the covers of the organisation’s quarterly publication, SNDS Magazine. We are pretty proud of this long series of covers – witness of the variety of subjects covered on the inside pages. Print and digital news design, the conferences, the competitions, great photography, and art.

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SNDS Magazine 4|2013

Our editors’ column in SNDS Magazine 4, 2013.

“I would feel unarmed attacking a day of creative thinking if I hadn’t read The New York Times early that morning.” – George Lois, 2012*

SNDSmag4-2013_pageoneAdvertising guru George Lois (born 1931, inventor of Big Idea advertising) may belong to a different time than the new breed of media workers, who grew up with twitter, blogs, and Facebook. But he sure has made his mark in the graphic design world, creating great art direction for Esquire Magazine, MTV, and Tommy Hilfiger to name a few.

In his small book, Damn Good Advice (for people with talent) he gives some of his experience back to the next generation of creatives – in the form of short, in-your-face advice on how to be creative. His book includes the statement above – followed by this comment:

Read more

I’m building a wall*

Making people pay for news on the web and other digital platforms has been doomed impossible by media researchers, but that does not keep anyone from trying.

By Lars Pryds / From SNDS Magazine 4, 2012.

It certainly looks like a new trend for Scandinavian media houses: setting up paywalls on their websites and preparing special paid-for digital products.

As Anders Tapola writes on the back page of this magazine, Fædre­landsvennen in Norway has started charging for Everything, Everywhere, Always. An easy-to-understand strategy – click any link on the front page of fvn.no and you will be prompted to pay for access to the journalistic content.

In Denmark Berlingske did the same in November for a handful of its regional newspapers, so readers who want to read local news from e.g. Aarhus Stiftstidende will have to pay for it, whether it’s in print or online.

Building a wall – but a soft one
However, most media houses do not have the courage to go all the way and charge for everything, but allow a certain amount of content for free before you have to punch in those numbers from your credit card. Also in November, in Finland, the mighty Helsingin Sanomat built a ‘soft’ paywall for hs.fi – allowing five free articles per week.

In Sweden, several papers have tried the same, says SNDS President Anders Tapola. Dagens Nyheter has launched a new website, dagensnyheter.se, where all material from the print edition is published at one o’clock every night – to complement the fast news updates on the regular dn.se.

“However, most of the initiatives look rather half-heartedly,” says Tapola, “and in some cases it’s difficult to understand what you’re paying for.”

Just like the New York Times
The three major national papers in Denmark all seem to be going the same way as Helsingin Sanomat – Politiken has chosen “the Metered Model which New York Times were the first to launch 18 months ago and which 150 US newspapers have rolled out since. We will launch our model in the new year,” says Anders Emil Møller, head of digital development at Politiken.

Berlingske will do the same – also “in the new year” (probably in February) – allowing 10 clicks for free each month before charging for articles. A complete reorganization of the way news stories will be planned are in the works – in order to publish all content to all platforms.

Jyllands-Posten has introduced a slightly different model for charging for online content in the form of a ‘Premium’ product, which will give subscribers access to content of a ‘special quality’.

The times are certainly changing (again) for the news media – and this is how it should be. Dr. Mario R. García – a die-hard optimist on behalf of the news business – phrased it very clearly in Cleveland, at the SND workshop:

“There is a place even for print – but those who survive are the ones who rethink themselves”.

An impossible task?
But, will the news companies survive by introducing paid-for web content? Not everyone is as optimistic as García. Erik Rasmussen, CEO and publisher, Monday Morning Management (DK), thinks that this project is impossible – for two reasons:

“Firstly, no matter what kind of paywalls the dailies set up, there will be an abundance of free news on the web. Second­ly, the newspapers have neglected to develop the originality and use value that the readers are willing to pay for.” (Berlingske, 22 Oct. 2012).

So, maybe all the hard work should not start with preparations for publishing your contenton a multitude of platforms in hundreds of different shapes and sizes, or trying to keep up with your competitors by doing exactly the same as they do. Instead, it might be a good idea to rethink the content itself.

As García also said in Cleveland – the story comes first, not the platform.

* I’m building a wall
a fine wall
not so much to keep you out
more to keep me in
– Pet Shop Boys (2009)

 

STOP! Even though you don’t understand a word of Finnish, the message of this warning sign is easily recognizable: Pay, if you want to continue. If you’re already a subscriber to Helsingin Sanomat in print, you’re only a little bit more lucky – you still have to pay, but the price will be as low as 3 euros per month, less than a third of the price for new readers. (Screenshot from hs.fi)

dagensnyheter.se – the printed paper, online.

fvn.no – pay for news Everything, Everywhere, Always.

stiften.dk – local news behind iron curtains.