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Grand design will fail if…

Legendary Sunday Times editor Harold Evans has spoken out about new trends in design that means nothing.

He says in an interview with The Independent of London: “These grand designs must have stories to back them up.”

I agree with him that design is not the solution to declining newspapers, as many editors seem to think when they relaunch their paper without any change to the way the news is presented, new content and new ideas.

Evans, who wrote the five-colume definitive set of journalism books, Editing and Design, 35 years ago, says: “Design can’t be considered without the context, the information. Design is absolutely no substitute for content.”

To read the full interview, go to: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/media/

Social networks for African, Middle East and Indian journalists

If you are a practising journalist in India, Middle East or Africa, you might want to join the appropriate Journalists Network.

I have created these three networks after finding the need for practising journalists to get together on a site to talk about newspapers, magazines, the media industry, make new friends/contacts, network with each other, and, who knows? maybe even find a job!

Africa, India and the Middle East are vast geographical areas with great diversity. Often, journalists in one country or region may not know colleagues and counterparts in other parts of their territories.

I felt they therefore need a common platform for a meeting of minds. I hope the African Journalists Network, Middle East Journalists’ Network and Indian Journalists’ Network will meet that need.

These are very much like Facebook, where you can meet like-minded colleagues in your region. There will be discussion threads, forums, events listings, photos and so on.

The addresses are:

• http://mideastjournos.ning.com/

• http://africanjournos.ning.com/

• http://indianjournos.ning.com/

Tell your friends in these parts of the world about the networks.

Scene: read and copied

Imitation, they say, is the sincerest form of flattery.

Well, that’s the happy state of affairs at DScene which I helped to launch in Dunedin, New Zealand, a little more than eight weeks ago.

The University of Otago has copied the entire front page of DScene for its student paper, Critic, right down to the masthead and colours. Here are the two images.
picture-1.png

The real Dscene

Meanwhile, DScene has commissioned Nielsen Media Research to do a study on readership. The results are fantastic for a paper that isn’t even three months old! I mean, how often does a new paper get kudos like this, especially when elsewhere we read dismal stories of newspapers in decline.

Nielsen says 75 per cent of people who received the paper in their mailbox had read it. A majority of them spent between 11 and 30 minutes reading the paper.

And what did readers like about it? The news coverage, entertainment and Life sections, the design and the property section topped their favourites in that order.

Three cheers to the folks at DScene!