In new look, Orlando is latest USA Today wannabe

[Graphics galore: today’s re-designed Sentinel vs. USAT]

Since the introduction of USA Today in 1982, newspaper redesigns have followed a similar pattern: splashier color, simpler layouts and more digestible stories for busy readers. The latest: Tribune’s Orlando Sentinel, which introduced a new design Sunday that’s being closely watched across the industry, The Wall Street Journal (paid subscription usually required) says today.

Earlier: Cont’d: Signs Murdoch is aiming at USA Today, NYT

Is your paper considering a re-design? Tells us what’s changing — and why, in the comments section, below. To e-mail confidentially, use this link from a non-work computer; see Tipsters Anonymous Policy in the green sidebar, upper right.

[Images: Newseum]

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10 Responses to “In new look, Orlando is latest USA Today wannabe”

  1. Mike Braun/Fort Myers Says:

    So, it took the Orlando Sentinel 26 years to figger out that Gannett’s USA Today was IT for newspaper design? Come on, that’s a unfair slam at Bonita Burton and her Orlando crew. The proof of what they did will be in the bottom line, whatever that will be. If it fails, THEN you can snipe at them. For the meantime, let them have their moment and see what they do with it.

  2. Anonymous Says:

    I think the new Sentinel looks pretty good. Good color scheme. I’d read it.

  3. Anonymous Says:

    The new design for the Sentinel, a near-clone of USA Today, is a great idea and one that should be implemented at all Gannett papers. It is colorful, clean, concise and enticing. USA Today is a good paper and that format in all of the markets would probably help to slow down the slide. Also, giving away copies at every hotel in the region would help too.

  4. Anonymous Says:

    More art, less words. Cheaper to fill with smaller staff.

  5. Anonymous Says:

    Are redesigns still bureaucratic hell for Gannett newspapers? Lots of sending prototypes to corporate, getting slammed and starting over again? Is a local flavor in the design still discouraged? Do the redesigns now include section cover ad placement as part of the color/design scheme?

    Went through two, very very difficult.

  6. Anonymous Says:

    —- The new design for the Sentinel, a near-clone of USA Today, is a great idea and one that should be implemented at all Gannett papers. —

    Hahahaha — this McDonald’s attitude is one of the things killing newspapers. Every market is unique. Top-down, one-size-fits-all thinking — whether it’s for the dead trees edition or the web site (how is that mandated site redesign working out? notice the decline in page views?) — is the enemy of the future.

  7. Anonymous Says:

    Anon 2:24 is right, using the template method of design is deadly boring. All the Gannett newspaper websites look the same and aren’t very reader friendly, in my experience.
    Before they went to the all-look-alike method of distributing online news, the individual papers were fun and feisty. Hundreds of comments even after small crime report stories.
    Now, readers must register and sign on before commenting or submitting anything. And the pages are dull, dull, dull. Photos are grouped together in “galleries” instead of with the corresponding story. So much for “entry points” for readers.
    Even if you didn’t KNOW how things were in the newsroom, the casual browser would assume that there are too few, uninspired and overworked people posting the news.

  8. Howard Owens Says:

    Actually, it’s more like a Bakersfield Californian wannabe.

    See the post I just did.

  9. Anonymous Says:

    The form-over-content crowd never learns. What have all the fancy redesigns done in 25 years. Circulation has continued to crash nationwide. Why should this comic-book approach change that? It’s just another visual gimmick to draw people who don’t, won’t read newspapers. And never will.

  10. Anonymous Says:

    And these visual gimmicks annoy and alienate people who do read the paper. The smart ones realize they’re getting less content, and usually the balance of soft over hard news increases in these redesigns, which is annoying too. It’s a losing strategy.

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