Tagged News design

A calm garden of news

decorrespondenten

Run from a former art gallery in Amsterdam, De Correspondent aims to move away from the daily news cycle by focussing on context, rather than what happened in the past 24 hours

From SNDS Magazine 1, 2016

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Launched in 2013 following a record-breaking crowdfunding campaign that raised $1.7m, Netherlands-based De Correspondent now has over 45,000 paying subscribers.

De Correspondent currently has an editorial staff of 30, including 14 fulltime journalists, plus a network of 22 contributing correspondents.

Rather than trying to catch up with the usual news flow, the expectation is that readers will follow a particular correspondent who collaborate with the communities around them.

Founding Editor-in-chief Rob Wijnberg says that when other media claim to be reporting “the news” there will always be thousands of other stories to be told. De Corres­pondent aims to let their reporters tell these stories on the publication’s website, which was designed by digital creative agency Momkai, featuring a custom-made cms  called Respondens.

The mission
Each journalist has a particular area or ‘garden’ on the website – sections of the site they can call their own, and in which they can build a relationship with readers who choose to ‘follow’ them.

“De Correspondent has a stated mission of establishing a lasting relationship with the readers, who are also asked to contribute their expertise on the topics, the correspondents cover,” says Stine Carsten Kendal, Director for development at iBureauet, a media company owned by Danish newspaper Information.

She thinks that Scandinavian media can learn from the Dutch startup:

“Information is inspired by all the new things going on in the exciting world of journalism. In Holland, journalists, designers and web developers worked together to create the new platform and cms for the online journalism, and everything is thoroughly designed to invite the readers to participate. They call them ‘members’ to stress the inclusion and particip­ation of the readers. The new media platform is also kept ad free, which I know is something all designers enjoy!”

stine-quote

Spaces of calm
However, the decision to make the publication completely ad free is not to please designers, although this is a nice touch, but rather to give the readers a special environment for reading. Creative Director Harald Dunnink compares the spaces on the De Correspondent website to rooms in a welldesigned art museum:

“The museum affords me a calm space where I can focus on the works of others. This is an idea that ties in seamlessly with our approach at Momkai and The Correspondent. In the fragmented real time of digital media, we are bombarded by images and messages non-stop. Rarely do we tune out this background noise long enough to listen attentively to a single, solitary message. Our mission therefore, as I see it, is to create online spaces of calm.”

In a recent article he describes the basic principles for succeeding with this philosophy (see bit.ly/cultivatingcalm).

Openness to readers
Stine Carsten Kendal visited De Correspondent in 2015 when they were expanding their staff and were thrilled that their initial succes with crowdfunding was continuing.

“I was introduced to De Correspondent through Cathrine Gyllensted, a Danish specialist in constructive journalism, who has just been appointed director for constructive journalism at a Dutch journalism school. By communicating very professionally about their succes, De Correspondent has received international attention. I think it is also due to the simplicity of their site, design and message. Another thing I like is how they use infographics to show how they spend the membership fees, to show their responsibility towards their readers and their openness,” Stine Carsten Kendal says.

“One of the issues De Correspondent has raised, is how to qualify comments and debate following the journalism. They work both with the cms and with active participation by the journalists, and also with little triggers like pointing out some members as specialists or experts and showing their comments more prominently. They also make it possible to add notes to the article for further reading, without interrupting the flow with links.”

Synergy in publishing
In today’s multi-layered media landscape, it’s not enough to focus on a single outlet or on just reporting the news. It’s important also to reach out to readers on other platforms and through other media:

“To me, it is interesting that this new online only journalism organisation publishes a book, sets up an art exhibition and arranges public meetings. It shows that the synergy between different kinds of publishing is also important in a digital first world,” says Stine Carsten Kendal.

“So much interesting is going on right now with online media that I cannot wait to see what the future brings.”

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Sources/Read more:

De Correspondent:
decorrespondent.nl

Dutch journalism platform the Correspondent reaches milestone of 40,000 paying members:
bit.ly/corresmile

De Correspondent on Medium:
medium.com/de-correspondent

Cultivating calm: a design
philosophy for the digital age:
bit.ly/cultivatingcalm

It’s all worthwhile

SNDSmag_1_2016-cover

Editor’s column from SNDS Magazine 1, 2016

There’s a starman
waiting in the sky
He’s told us not to blow it
Cause he knows
it’s all worthwhile

– David Bowie: “Starman” (1972)

In the first week of March, I had the pleasure once again of spending days in Legoland, attending the judging of entries in this year’s Scandinavian news design competition. Among my duties was to help with photographing all the print winners for the annual catalogue. Læs more

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:

SNDS Magazine 1, 2015 is out

The first SNDS Magazine of the year is on its way to the printer. Take a look in this web version at all the great content we have put together for you. The cover story is a very personal story by John Bark and a project by him and his colleague Charli Kasselbäck, in the cold north part of Sweden. There’s also a presentation of the first speakers at the SNDS15 conference – oh, and we’ve redesigned the magazine – a needed facelift after nine years in the same look, more or less. Hope you like it!

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