(See bottom of post for updates.)
As I watch the lusciously designed, mainly Western European newspapers roll out at Juan Antonio Giner’s What’s Next: Innovations in Newspapers, I keep wondering what effect something like i would have on urban newspaper sales in North American cities.
i, according to Giner, is something newish: a daily newsmagazine. As you scroll through the pages at this post, it become pretty clear it’s something different, but still recognizably a newspaper. It isn’t all eye candy: my translation of the headline on the lead story on the front page in this post is “The story of a banker who hit bottom.” Sounds like serious journalism.
i isn’t unique. Through Juan Antonio I’ve seen others, including Publico (also in Portugal) and Eleftheros Typos (sadly, now gone). If you search his site, you can find examples of both. All of these newspapers share a bold, lively approach, with great use of colour, design and images. I’m going to presume the journalism lives up to the image.
Now, we know some stuff about North American newspapers. One is that, hidden behind the current panic over the recession-battered economics of newspapering, there remains the long and steady decline in the circulation of printed newspapers. Two is that there is still life in printed newspapers, both in their value to some readers and their ability to make money.
So, I wonder: could a boldly designed, well-illustrated, well-written (and downright attractive) newspaper recapture some of that drifted-away circulation, enhancing (at least for a while) the value of the printed newspaper?
I have no way of knowing, but I do know that if a newspaper like i appeared on the streets of Vancouver tomorrow, I’d be far more likely to buy a copy of a printed newspaper than I am now.
A quick update: Take a look at the website for i, too. Striking.
Update (Sunday, Nov. 8 @ 3:17 p.m.): Coincidentally, the NYT has an article today on i: Publisher in Portugal Picks a Fine Time to Start a Newspaper.
Update (Tuesday, Nov. 10 @ 11:55 a.m.): Editors Weblog has an in-depth look at i, which is well worth of the read:
A Portuguese success story: could i be the future of newspapers?