The Daily Press of Newport News, Va. — circulation 57,642 — launched a redesign back on Aug. 10.
On the right is the Sunday, Aug. 17 front page — a week into the new format. On the left is a front page from last winter.
Click on that pair — or any page here today — for a much larger look.
Kevin Goyette, night editor of the Daily Press, did the work on the redesign. Previously, he redesigned the weekly Tidewater Review and the bi-weekly Virginia Gazette, both also owned by Tribune.
Kevin tells us:
We were overdue for a visual refresher, but the big driver behind this project is to enhance our focus on local news. Readers we surveyed felt like they weren’t getting as much local news as they had in the past from all the communities they care about. So we revamped zoned news sections we had created a while back to include only calendars, submitted photos, news items and the like…
…and pumped up our local news section with more stories produced by a beefed-up reporting staff. We added more substantial local labels and added thumbnail locality markers to reinforce the idea.
Stylistically, we tweaked some of the typography (more all-caps headlines and page labels) to be reminiscent of classic newspaper styling. We couldn’t really stray from the Tribune faces, but the idea was to be a bit more traditional and clean, while still allowing room for creativity and pop when opportunities arise.
Here’s a look at the Wednesday, Aug. 13 front page — Day Three of the new design.
The paper lost its colorful blue nameplate — which, frankly, I kind of miss. But it gains the opportunity to do fun stuff with larger skyboxes. Here is the front page from the very next day: Thursday, Aug. 14.
The new nameplate is a modestly revised version of one that ran from the paper’s inception more than a century ago until the 1970s.
It features an old woodcut of the shipyard with the seal of Virginia in the center. The intent here is to help give our brand a sense of place and tradition, and, again, evoke classic styling. New section flags echo the visual approach.
Here’s a before-and-after look at the sports front…
…and the Friday entertainment section.
There are many other changes throughout — to furniture, column sigs and the like — but I won’t bore you with the minor details.
Ah, but we love minor details. Kevin sent along the clean, new editorial page…
…and a new Page Two. It was pretty clean before, but now it seems just a bit more structured. The flatter (house) ad stack helps tremendously.
According to editor Marisa Porto, a number of other changes took place with the new design:
Other features of the new design include:
- Williamsburg — 45 minutes up the interstate — will now be included in the Town Square zoned editions.
- Those zoned pages will stay at two pages per community every Thursday, but more of that local news will be spread throughout the week.
- The regular local news sections expands by two more pages on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.
- Additional reporters have been added, Marisa says, to cover biz, real estate and state politics. Plus, watchdog reporting has been beefed up, Marisa writes.
Find Marisa’s column here. Find a news story about the changes here.
Marisa was bold enough to share some of the feedback she’s gotten about the format. Some readers have complained they miss the old nameplate. Others say they think some of the typography is too small or that they miss features that were changed. Find collections of feedback here, here and here.
Here are a few that ran on Aug. 12, just two days into the new design. These are from the sample of page two, above — the one that has the reader-submitted photo of the moon on it.
Occasionally, though, you come across comments that are very interesting — and helpful — indeed:
Jerry, Hampton: I don’t know if anyone else has noticed that you have gone in the local section to sometimes four columns, and usually no more than five columns. It’s much easier to read because there are more words per line. I wish you could convince whoever does the Nation&World section to get away from the six columns that only have sometimes three words on a line. If there’s any way you could put forth that word, it would certainly be appreciated. But I want to thank you for increasing the number of words per line and decreasing the number of columns. Thank you very much.
Kory, Newport News: In an era where newspapers are constantly under threat from Internet-based news sources, it makes no sense to look “traditional”. You may think the Flag is retro, but really it’s just old looking and is a terrible choice. The addition of maps for each story is a huge improvement, and is almost what it needs to be. I have gotten in the habit of bringing my smartphone with me to read the paper just so I can look up the locations since the stories provide no landmarks to figure out where an obscure street is. I shouldn’t have to. You need to take the maps one step further by adding a dot, a star, or an arrow in the general location of the event. Why do residents of the Virginia Peninsula need to be reminded where Newport News is four times in the front section? County-scale maps would be helpful for stories in other parts of the state, since it’s impossible to keep a working knowledge of Virginia’s more than 100 cities and counties.
Lloyd: I read the Daily Press every day, especially the sports section. My concern is that box scores print is too small. I have problems reading box scores and I am sure that I am not the only one. Any improvement would be appreciated. Thanks.
Marisa received a number of comments from folks who missed the celebrity birthdays that used to run on page two. Those have been brought back.
Find the Daily Press‘ web site here.