Tag Archives: newspaper-layout

24 Heures gets Metro-like redesign

The day after labour day tends to be a good one to unveil new redesigns. Quebecor is tweaking the look of its 24 Hours papers across the country today, including 24 Heures in Montreal. Each includes an article praising itself for the new design and how much better it is. (The articles aren’t online yet, but you can read the 24 Heures version on their digital edition on Page 5.)

The biggest change in the layout is that the headlines and photos look bigger, which of course means less room for actual news (but nobody cares about that if they’re reading 24 Heures, right?)

You’ll also notice more use of yellow, particularly in highlighter-style behind smaller headlines and labels. I make note of that particularly because there’s a certain other newspaper in town that redesigned in May – and it too promised bigger headlines, bigger photos and more use of yellow highlights.

But to suggest that 24 Heures and its sister papers across the country redesigned so they could look more like the more successful direct competitor Metro, now that would be silly.

Here’s a before and after:

Old New

And a couple of other news pages from the new design:

CanWest outsourcing more layout to non-union workers

The Tyee has an article about work being outsourced from the Vancouver Sun and Vancouver Province newsrooms into non-unionized positions in Hamilton, Ont. Currently, Hamilton takes care of things like stock pages and sports scoreboards, work which can be replicated for more than one paper. The TV Times is also produced out of one location, with the local programming grids and paper’s logo slapped on at the end. But now CanWest’s Vancouver papers are sending more pages to be done there, which is worrying union leaders.

This is kind of one of those grey areas with unions. Is it OK to hire non-unionized workers for union jobs if it’s being done in another city? Can you shift jobs from a unionized part of a company to a non-unionized part without problems?

Sun editor-in-chief Patricia Graham calls the layout being transferred “essentially a mechanical function.” The article doesn’t give details about what exactly is being transferred, but I’m guessing it’s debatable how “mechanical” such a function really is.

UPDATE (Nov. 10): J-Source has another post on the CanWest situation, including a union response alleging that Global is violating its CRTC licenses by centralizing its newsrooms.

Too much A-section planning never works

The Hamilton Spectator is “going local”. I’m not quite sure what that means exactly, but good for them.

One of the plans as part of its “going local” strategy is remaking its A2 and A3 pages. In most newspapers, these are the continuations of major stories off the front page. But the Spectator is going to make them into local news pages, probably with some sort of fixed layout.

Lots of newspapers make plans like these. A2 will always look like this, A3 will always look like this, the front page will always have this kind of layout.

The problem is that as soon as a huge story happens (say, an election or a local school shooting), about half the A section gets turned into coverage of that story, and these rules start flying out the window. Eventually, the first few pages start reverting to their previous habits: turns of unrelated front-page stories jammed in together with second-rate top news stories that didn’t make the cover.

Why bother fighting it? The A section is about news. Almost by definition it’s the section that you can plan the least in advance because you won’t know what kind of news you have until you have it. Give it the fluidity it needs, because otherwise it’s going to find a way to sneak in.