Mario García: ‘Mobile devices are conquering the time of our readers’

Strong journalism roots and extensive design expertise are the key to the success of Mario García, the renowned designer with 40 years of experience and more than 700 projects in 120 countries. García Media, his media consulting firm, receives continuous requests from around the world to advise news publishers on how to write, edit and design across print and digital platforms.

by WAN-IFRA Staff | August 21, 2014

WAN-IFRA: Is the journalist-designer combination key to redesigning successful digital news products?

Mario García: I believe that the combination of training as a journalist, but a full four-decade career as a visual journalist/designer helps to carry storytelling across platforms. I have never had more fun than now, designing for mobile devices, which is consuming more than 65 percent of the work I do currently worldwide. I love working with those smaller screens of phones and tablets. The possibilities are tremendous for a storyteller to tell stories in a variety of modes.

You will take part in the Tablet and App Summit (#TAS14) with a presentation on ‘Two tempos: rhythms for storytelling in the digital age.’ Which are these two tempos?

These tempos are the constant flow and the curated. We want the news to come to us when it happens, but we also want material specifically selected by an editor at certain times of the day. Both tempos are essential. That will be the gist of my presentation at the TAS14 conference. With many examples and case studies, plus tips of how to accomplish this.

What is new in mobile news product design since you presented at last year’s conference?

I think that a year is a long time in the world of digital media development. I am concentrating more and learning much about the nuances of storytelling for what I call ‘the journalism of interruptions and everywhereness.’ How do we edit and design for an audience that is constantly on the go and checking news on mobile devices throughout the day anywhere and everywhere? There are techniques to do so effectively.

Why do you recommend promoting all the platforms rather than concentrating all resources on one?

Because the audience is not attached to only one platform. We have evidence that many in the audience go from one platform to the other, sometimes while reading one same story.

You always highlight the importance of the mobile editor’s role, encouraging every news publisher to hire one. What are the right skills for this position?

Someone who has deep roots in what genuine and serious journalism is about, but who understands social media, the new technology and how audiences today consume information. The ideal mobile editor is a social media addict who can smell a good story from a distance and then knows how that story will play across various platforms. Not easy to find this person, but they are out there, and more are coming out of schools such as Columbia University School of Journalism where I am the 2014 Hearst Digital Media Professor. We are training these mobile editors.

Is the ‘flow of the story’ the most important concept that newsrooms need to understand today?

Yes, indeed, and, more importantly, how audiences consume information today: it has changed dramatically even in the last three years. Those mobile devices are conquering the time of our readers.

Why are these the best times to be a storyteller?

Because we can appeal to more of the senses: we can tell a story through words, pictures, audio, and video. We can seduce visually, and we can bring a story alive in ways we could not through just a print edition.


This post is part of a series of interviews and articles on the occasion of the Tablet and App Summit (#TAS14), which takes place on 14-15 October in Amsterdam. #TAS14 is a paid conference part of the World Publishing Expo 2014 – the largest annual global trade exhibition for the news publishing and media industry.


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