May 12, 2015 Last Updated 5:04 pm

McClatchy begins rolling out newspaper and web redesigns

Redesigned print newspapers and websites introduced for The Sacramento Bee, The Modesto Bee and the Merced Sun-Star, with more to come soon

The McClatchy chain plans to roll out redesigns for its newspapers and websites, starting today with The Sacramento Bee, The Modesto Bee and the Merced Sun-Star, with The Fresno Bee to follow soon.

SacBee-newwebPoynter has done a good job of writing about the plans for the redesign, first with a story from Anders Gyllenhaal is vice president of news at McClatchy (see here), and then a rundown on the new looks unveiled today (see here).

Websites get redesigned all the time, usually following the trends of designers at that time. Today we are seeing far more white space, fewer stories on home pages, more magazine-like designs for news stories, and plenty of those lists of news stories. Generally speaking, we are in a poor time for home pages, but a good one for story designs.

Newspaper redesigns are far and few between. For one thing, newspaper companies don’t like to employ their own design teams, for whatever reason. Instead, they usually bring in consultants. In this case, McClatchy worked with Stanford’s Institute of Design and Garcia Media Group. This means that whatever redesigns were to take place would, by necessity of economics, have to be rolled out everywhere. Local editors really love these top down approaches to their products.

SacBeeThere is nothing too radical with the front page and home page redesigns being unveiled by the Central Valley newspapers of McClatchy. Most of the more important changes are probably inside. Like other web redesigns, I like the larger working space given over to the articles on the web, but dislike the fact that the reader must scroll an entire screen just to start reading the stories. Like most new web designs, it looks like the redesign was accomplished on someone’s 11″ MacBook Air rather than a desktop computer.

As for print, the biggest impression most readers have is the small impression the paper made with its new look.

“Obviously it will mean less,” wrote one reader. “A bit ago I compared Monday’s paper with today’s. The area including the masthead takes up twice as much space just so they can have bigger (and no more informative) pictures.”

Another said it looked like USA Today (I think that is not accurate, though).

I like to take my time adjusting to any redesigns, knowing that first impressions are often faulty. I thought that the new looked good until I realized that readers who were exploring it more closely thought it a disaster. I hated the look of the Chicago Tribune website at first… actually, in this case, I still do.

As for digital editions, when admittedly are becoming less a focus of both newspaper and magazine publishers, McClatchy is still wedded to the idea of producing an app that reformats their website (which I’ve always consider a complete waste of time) and a replica edition app of the print newspaper. The paper claims over 10 percent of its circulation as digital replica, though more than half of that is accounted for in educational copies, with the rest, around 9,800, having signed up for a replica subscription.

Comments are closed.