Tuesday, April 28, 2009

AJC redesign: Your thoughts?

Posted By on Tue, Apr 28, 2009 at 3:41 PM

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Well, Julia Wallace and her dwindling crew have finally unveiled their kandy-kolored tangerine-flake streamline baby, the redesigned print AJC. Hmm. Since every change as radical as this requires a period of emotional adjustment, I'll stick mostly to random observations:

1) I'd been told the paper was planning to use fewer large photos, but I don't think I've ever seen a major daily apart from the Wall Street Journal that doesn't have at least one two-column photo above the front-page fold. That's pretty radical.

2) Moving the table of contents and front-page briefs column out of the left-hand gutter and into the middle of the page is, well, just plain weird. I understand why they did it — it enables them to run two sets of headlines just under the section banner without "bumping heads," a no-no in newspaper design. But it still feels weird.

3) The Community News page seems more readable now; it's easier to spot individual communities. But I've wondered for a while now, Do people read this page?

4) I can't help but worry that the reader-driven push for "clearer headlines" and subheds — and sub-subheds — is because many people would like to be able to skim off kernels of information without actually going to the trouble of reading the articles. Isn't that why God created local TV news?

5) What's with the promise of "More optimistic, positive stories" in the Living section? Simply having a lifestyle section filled with fluff wasn't good enough? Now it's gotta be feel-good fluff? What's next, treating each issue with a light dusting of Xanax?

Anyway, what does anyone else think of the new redesign? And, please, keep it decent.

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