SADDAM GOES, TV WINS, THE SUNDAY TIMES DOES WELL, BUT THE GUARDIAN’S FAMILY SECTION EXCELLS

Files under General | Dec 31st

Saturday UK newspaper were very good telling the final hours of the tyrant, but today…

Almost everything was said, and watched in TV… yesterday.

So, Sunday papers told us again the same story with the same pictures, the same editorials, and the same mix of columnists.

The Sunday Times was the best, with the opinion of John Simpson that was less predictable and biased than the usual views (not reporting) of Robert Fisk, that took the opportunity to promote the new edition of his last book.

Well, after two days of great papers, the only thing that I will remember is the amazing Family section of the Saturday Guardian.

Worth to read.

A great and unique product.

Well done!



NEWSPAPER REDESIGN 101: IT’S TYPE SIZE, MY DEAR

Files under General | Dec 29th

During these holidays in Wales, I am reading again the British daily newspapers.

In detail.

With real interest.

And trying to find out the reasons of their circulation crisis.

The new compact versions of The Times, The Independent and The Guardian, look great but… they are difficult, really difficult to read.

Why?

This is an easy one.

You don’t need to be a design guru.

Or a consultant.

The only thing that you need to be is just a reader.

A patient reader.

A normal reader.

And you will immediately realize that these redesigns have been made with just only one obsession:

Having the same amount of content in less pages.

Well, the results are here: good design and bad readership.

More design awards… and less circulation.

As I said in our 2006 Innovations in Newspapers Global Report, all these newspapers zoomed their editions and now readers are paying the consequences..

Or better said:the newspapers are suffering the results of this big mistake.

The solution is simple:

1. EDIT, EDIT, EDIT! Your readers want relevant and compelling content and our newsrooms are trying to fit the same news and stories in less pages.

2. INCREASE THE TYPE SIZE! Your main audiences are older and older. So, you better pay attention to their needs or they will go away, as they are.

In more than 20 years working for newspapers around the world, one very important lesson that you learn is this:

You can change anything, except the text type size.

And don’t accept ever the silly reasons of many bad designers (oh, you know, it’s better but looks smaller).

Like our readers, I don’t care.

I want typefaces easy to read.

Bigger.

If not, bye, bye…



TOO MUCH, LIKE SOME MEGA-NEWSPAPERS

Files under General | Dec 26th

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The Guardian presents the mega-version of the new Swiss Army knife.

The new Swiss Army knife contains 85 devices, weighs 2lb and costs nearly £500.

They’re standard equipment for Nasa’s astronauts, and feature in the Museum of Modern Art in New York as an example of outstanding functional design.

Well, like many traditional multi-section newspapers, perhaps it is too much.

We need simplicity.

iPod newspapers.

Mini Morris newspapers.

Compact and compelling newspapers.

 

 



NEW VENDING MACHINES IN MOSCOW

Files under General | Dec 25th

In the Metro of Moscow (Russia).
Newspaper and magazine vending machines.

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HAPPY HOLIDAYS FROM ST. DAVIDS, WALES

Files under General | Dec 24th

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Deborah, Tam David and I are flying in the next few hours going to our house in Wales.

 

From St. Davids, the smallest British city, with one of the oldest and more dramatic Norman cathedrals of the country, this is our Christimas card to all of you.

Merry Christimas and very, very happy holidays!

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David James, explains very well the beauty and traditions of this unique place:

Revered as one of the major places of pilgrimage in the Western world for over 1200 years, St Davids cathedral is situated in a sheltered valley close to the south-west tip of the Pembrokeshire coast in South Wales.

To see it for the first time is for many a wonder, standing as it does against a backdrop of open fields and countryside in such a rural setting.

The original monastery of Menevia, founded by St. David himself in the 6th century, has long disappeared.

It was pillaged several times by Viking raiders in its history.

The present cathedral was begun circa 1180 A.D., with additions over the centuries.

On March 1st. Pope Calixtus 11, (1119-24), canonised St. David, and declared that Two pilgrimages to Menevia were equal to one pilgrimage to Rome’, thus ensuring the Saint’s popularity with medieval pilgrims.

The shrine of the Saint remains in the cathedral to this day, in the beautiful and peaceful Trinity Chapel, the focal point for the Celtic pilgrim.

Visiting the cathedral at a quiet time of the day there is a very strong sense of ‘the old’, and it is easy to imagine the early and more basic structure of St.David’s monastery of Menevia being here prior to the present building.

The carved wooden suspended ceiling is the finest of its kind in existence, and the painted wooden ceiling and vaulting beneath the tower is truly magnificent.

Almost everything about this Celtic cathedral is unique, and it is hardly surprising that some people have described it as “the eighth wonder of the world”.

The shrine of St.David, behind the great altar, is a fine place to meditate, and add ones appreciation for the beauty and inspiration of this place, along with the thousands of pilgrims who have been here over the centuries.



REAL NEWSROOMS (60 ) THE UB POST

Files under General | Dec 24th

The UB Post, Mongolia´s independent weekly English newspaper in Ulaanbaatar, has an important guest.
The President of Mongolia N. Bagabandi (second from right) visiting the newsroom.

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Photo by Sumiyabazar Choi.



KISSINGER AT 83, DEFENDING HIS RECORD

Files under General | Dec 23rd

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In New York magazine, Joe Hagan meets Henry Kissinger at 83.

A great story and portrait that starts like this:

The elevator doors open onto Henry Kissinger’s offices to reveal a bulletproof bank teller’s window.

The carpets are worn, the walls in need of fresh paint, the wing chairs stained by the hands of a thousand waiting dignitaries.

In a corner sits a large planter holding the dried stumps of a long-dead bamboo tree.

A Ronald Reagan commemorative album and a picture book of Israel collect dust on a shelf next to a replica of an ancient Greek bust with a missing nose.

Across from Kissinger’s door his hundreds of contacts—presidents, prime ministers, diplomats, and corporate titans—are catalogued in eight flywheel Rolodexes on his secretary’s desk.

And then you hear it: The Voice, a low rumble from around the corner, like heavy construction on the street outside.

When he finally appears, Kissinger—architect of the Vietnam War’s tortured end, Nixon confidant and enabler, alleged war criminal, and Manhattan bon vivant—is smaller than expected: stooped and portly, dressed in a starched white shirt and pants hoisted by suspenders, peering gravely through his iconic glasses.

He’s almost cute.

At 83, Kissinger has had heart surgery twice, wears two hearing aids, and is blind in one eye.

His once-black hair has turned snowy white.

But his presence is startling nonetheless, his Germanic timber so low and gravelly everyone else sounds weak by comparison.

He starts our conversation on this late-October morning by placing a silver tape recorder on the coffee table.

“I want a record,” he says.

A fascinating portrait of the man that according Seymour Hersh “lies like most people breathe.”

Read here the full piece.



THE iTUNES BOOM: JUST THE FACTS, BABY

Files under General | Dec 22nd

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iTunes of Apple sold:

500 million songs sold on July 18, 2005.

One billion by February 23, 2006
1.5 billion by September 12, 2006.

In The Wall Street Journal, Carl Bialik (“The Numbers Guy) has an excellent analysis about the recent bogus report of Forrester saying that the sales at Apple’s iTunes music store were off as much as 65% from the beginning of the year.

Well the facts are the facts.

iTunes is booming.

Not the credibility of Forrester.



SORRY, BUT TODAY´S NEWS ARE FROM TURKMENISTAN

Files under General | Dec 22nd

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Alert.

Saparmurat Niyazov, the authoritarian president of Turkmenistan, died yesterday, the Turkmen government said, raising questions about succession and stability in a nation that is an essential supplier of energy to Europe.

Turkmenistan, located in Central Asia next to Iran, Afghanistan and the Caspian Sea, contains many of world’s largest natural gas fields and provides gas to Russia and European countries.
Not an irrelevant player.

But you will not find too much in our newspapers.

Why?

Too remote?

Yes, but read The New York Times story and you will realize how bizarre the personage was, and how crucial is the role of this country in today´s geopolitics.

This is the amazing life of Mr. Niyazov, who gave himself the name Turkmenbashi, or the Head of All Turkmen, had ruled his sparsely populated nation since becoming chairman of the Turkmen Communist Party in 1985, when the country was a Soviet republic…

He weathered the Soviet Union’s collapse, becoming the president of independent Turkmenistan, pushing through a constitution that concentrated power in his hands and embarking upon a megalomaniacal career as president for life….

While other post-Soviet countries suffered disorder and, in some cases, revolutions or war, Mr. Niyazov lorded over Turkmenistan with a sprawling security apparatus and a fantastically well-developed personality cult. He was 66 and had suffered from heart disease, but never publicly anointed a successor…

Holiday decorations were removed from the streets of the capital. State television showed a portrait of Mr. Niyazov against the sounds of the funeral march from Chopin’s Piano Sonata No. 2…

Goldman Sachs sent a note to investors saying the abrupt political change “throws into question the country’s political stability and control over its substantial natural gas exports”…

Intrigue immediately followed his death.



INMIGRATION INFOGRAPHIC: I DON´T GET IT

Files under General | Dec 22nd

This is from Diario de Burgos (Spain).

A good regional paper that today presented this front page with a big infographic but no explanation of what all these numbers mean.

Well, sometimes you need some words to explain a graphic.

I like it, but I don´t get it.

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