“It’s a very interactive piece on a flat medium, not a newspaper trying to be something else…“
– SND35 Long-form judges*
The editor’s column, March 2014
The editor’s column, March 2014
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.
It’s now time to enter this year’s news design competition, organized by SNDS, Society for News Design Scandinavia. Find out more on www.snds.org or in the brochure with rules and entry forms below. The competition is open for digital and printed content published in 2013. Deadline for submitting your work is January 27, 2014.
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*
Advertising 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:
I’m in Billund, at Hotel Legoland, where the jury for the “Best of Scandinavian News Design 2013″ competition is meeting to find this years winners. 763 entries in the print categories and 65 in online will be judged by the hard working jury.
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.