Understanding journalism is key in battle for user attention

Mark Porter, one of the world’s top editorial designers, will be at the International Newsroom Summit in Hamburg on 5 October to lead a panel discussion on designing for digital news. In this interview, he highlights how real editorial design can give publishers a competitive edge in their competition with Google, Apple and Facebook.

by WAN-IFRA Staff | September 2, 2015

In a world where news is moving to small screens, does design matter?

As news moves to small screens, we find ourselves more and more in competition with Google, Apple and Facebook. When the world’s biggest corporations are competing for our audience’s attention, a well-designed experience is essential. But despite their resources, the tech giants do not have a native understanding of journalism and reading, so real editorial design can be a great competitive advantage for publishers.

Should newspapers still be investing money in print redesigns?

Yes! The audience for the printed newspaper may not have much potential for growth but printed newspapers still punch above their weight in terms of authority, credibility, and readability. A well-designed print product is not only a pleasure for the (significant) part of the audience that still wants it, but is also a vital way of reinforcing the identity and values of a multi-platform news organisation

How is mobile and digital technology helping print design? How does print help mobile and digital design?

It’s important to see print and digital as complementary but distinct parts of a newspaper’s offering. Attempts to incorporate digital-inspired elements into print design are usually naive and ill-considered. But digital can still learn a lot from print about typography, layout, and visual storytelling.

Are there any core philosophies that guide your work?

We focus first on accessibility: Can people use and navigate the design? Then on engagement, drawing the audience into the stories, and also to the character and philosophy of the publication. When we are confident that we have achieved this, there is also a little room for aesthetics!

What design projects have you recently worked on/ are you working on?

We recently rebranded RTL Nieuws, the biggest commercial TV network in the Netherlands, and we are launching a new channel for them this month. We are also working on a brand new digital news platform in Spain, and continuing to expand and develop the site we launched last year for Internazionale in Rome (at left).

Martina Recchiuti, Managing Editor of Internazionale, will be on Porter’s panel in Hamburg. So too will Alper Balkanlı, Head of UX/UI Design, Hurriyet, Tu

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