Tag Archives: redesigns

Different strategies as Edmonton Journal, Toronto Star launch new products

This morning, two major Canadian newspapers made big announcements about new ways of consuming their news. One, the Toronto Star, has put a lot of its eggs in the basket of a new tablet app based on La Presse+. The other, the Edmonton Journal, has redesigned its print edition, website and smartphone app based on Postmedia’s 2.0 template, but hasn’t launched a new tablet edition, unlike its Postmedia sister papers.

It’s two very different strategies toward finding new ways to connect with audiences and increase advertising revenues.

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Montreal Gazette redesigns paper, launches new website and iPad and smartphone apps

Monday and Tuesday editions of the Montreal Gazette

Monday and Tuesday editions of the Montreal Gazette

The project called The Gazette Reimagined went live at 12am on Tuesday, with a four-platform relaunch that includes a dramatic print redesign, a new website and new iPad and smartphone apps.

The new website went live at midnight, though it may take a bit of time for the DNS changes to propagate through the Internet. The new smartphone apps are in the Apple app store and Google Play store, and the new iPad app is also in the Apple app store. (The old smartphone and tablet apps will remain available, for those who want to read website stories on their smartphone but don’t want to use the mobile website.)

Editor Lucinda Chodan explains the general changes in a note to readers that appears on Page A2. There’s also a news (well, business) story about the changes and a podcast interview with Chodan an managing editor Michelle Richardson. But for the more attention-to-detail crowd, here’s some nitty gritty about what’s going on that I can finally tell you.

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Journal de Montréal radically redesigns, adds busload of columnists

Front page (well, inside front page) of today's Journal de Montréal

Front page (well, inside front page) of today’s Journal de Montréal

In some ways, it looks a lot different. A new headline font, a new logo, new sections. But in more important ways, it’s still the Journal de Montréal, a tabloid with short articles and big photos and Richard Martineau.

The new paper came out on Tuesday morning, with an eight-page explainer section, plus another two in sports. The content of that is reproduced online here, or you can read Quebecor’s press release.

(The Journal de Québec underwent a similar redesign.)

In short, here’s what’s changed:

  • The logo. The lowercase “journal de montréal”, which has been the paper’s logo since 1964, has been replaced with uppercase text, each word in its own red rectangle. Publisher Lyne Robitaille says these four blocks represent the four platforms the Journal is distributed in.
  • The fonts. The headline font is replaced by Tungsten. The narrow, blocky font allows for more characters in one line, which the Journal’s editors believe will allow them to write longer, more descriptive headlines. Other fonts used are Stag Sans for the labels on top of headlines and other display type below, and World Wide for the body type. The Journal also notes it has increased its line spacing a bit.
  • The colour scheme: Rather than a uniform red, the upper folio will have the colour of whatever section it’s in (news is red, others mainly blue or green).
  • New sections and pages:
    • JM: Pronounced “j’aime”, this pull-out section (it’s like you have two papers in one, they say) contains all the arts and life sections, including the weather, horoscope, cartoons, the photo pages and Louise Deschâtelets.
    • Monde: International news is broken off into its own section instead of just following news
    • Dans vos poches: A page in the Argent business section is devoted to practical information for consumers and investors
    • Photo: Because apparently the photos in the Journal weren’t big enough, they’ve promised to make them bigger. The paper will now include a full-page photo of the day, in addition to its weekly best-of photo pics and its photo blog, and it will also publish photo-taking tips and run contests for the best reader-submitted photo.
    • Techno: Also part of the JM section, with technology news and useful information.
    • Grandes entrevues: The Saturday paper will include a feature interview with a personality in the news, by various columnists.
  • Fewer listings: Arguing that this is information better put online, the paper is reducing its stock listings to half a page, and says it will now publish movie listings only on the most popular days: Tuesday, Friday and Saturday.
  • Radio is back: Le journal du midi, which had been off since June, is back, with Sophie Durocher and Gilles Proulx. A new show by Michel Beaudry, about hockey, airs Mondays at 3pm.
  • Contact information for writers now includes Twitter addresses (below their bylines) and email addresses and phone numbers at the end of their stories. The explainer also mentions their Facebook and Google+ addresses. But this isn’t uniform for every writer. Some stories include only an email address, others no contact information at all.
  • Expanded sports: Though the Canadiens will still be the big draw in sports, and more coverage is planned of the bleu-blanc-rouge (including sports-specific Michel Beaudry humour columns and Ygreck cartoons), there will be a larger focus on non-hockey sports, with new weekly columns on tennis, basketball and running.
  • A new tagline: “Le journal qu’on aime lire.”

New columnists

Two pages of the paper are devoted just to listing all the new columnists and contributors. Some of them are big names (though some of the bigger names will contribute whenever they feel like it).

The list of “chroniqueurs invités” includes such big names as Jean Charest, Jacques Parizeau, Line Beauchamp, Gilbert Rozon, Louise Beaudoin, Isabelle Hudon and Dominic Maurais.

But in terms of people we’ll see on a regular basis, they include Josée Legault (who will also have a blog), François Bugingo, on world affairs, and Martine Desjardins. Plus comedians Kim Lizotte and Maxim Martin with lifestyle columns, and Renaud Lavoie (formerly of RDS) in sports.

The Journal has also added some winter sports athletes as columnists focused on the road to the Sochi Olympics: Alex Harvey (cross-country skiing), Dominique Maltais (snowboarding), Alexandre Bilodeau (freestyle skiing), Marianne St-Gelais (short-track speed skating), Erik Guay (alpine skiing), Marie-Michele Gagnon (alpine skiing) and Laurent Dubreuil (long-track speed skating).

The death of Cyberpresse

BEFORE: Cyberpresse.ca

AFTER: LaPresse.ca

When I heard last night about how Cyberpresse.ca was being transformed into LaPresse.ca today, I started planning a post in my head, about how the last great example of the “portal” concept from a decade ago had finally fallen, following in the footsteps of Canada.com and Canoe.ca, who for years forced its papers and other brands to be mere sections of the portal instead of having their own websites with their own domain names.

But … that doesn’t seem to be what has happened here. At least not yet. Instead, they’ve changed the name and the branding (one that has existed for more than 10 years), but not the concept, and for now anyway all the Gesca newspapers still share the same online brand.

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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:

NFB website redesigned

Matt Forsythe wants me to mention that the National Film Board just launched its redesigned website. The NFB has been working pretty hard getting various films online for people to watch them for free.

One of the big new features is playlists, which includes suggested playlists from experts. It’s a good way to get started if you’re overwhelmed by the selection and want to find something new.

More details are in an NFB blog post.

I haven’t had a chance to fully explore it, but at first glance the design seems slick. The homepage is unfortunately a bit cliché: Flash-based main story box which cycles between five items; grid of features below it, each with its own picture; link-farm at the bottom that’s meant more for Google than for human eyes.

But if that’s the worst thing I can say about it, it can’t be too bad.

New montrealgazette.com now live

Take a look, take the tour, read the note from the editor.

The biggest change is that it’s wider (setup for 1024px instead of 800px) and it uses its own domain and branding. There’s also a lot of technology behind it that dates from this millennium, which allows you to comment on each article and see which articles are popular.

Feel free to comment there (or here, and I’ll pass them along) about the redesign, which took about seven months to complete, and is chain-wide (the Vancouver Sun site is also up, and the first review is positive).

UPDATE: See similar comment threads on redesigned Canwest newspaper sites:

UPDATE (Dec. 3): And if you need it in marketingese, that can be arranged. Nothing is more hip and in touch with young people of today than a press release quoting the general manager and senior vice-president of digital media saying that “Each execution will be customized and branded to reflect the values and personality of each local newspaper.”

RadCan ReDesign

Radio-Canada is publicizing a beta version of its redesigned news homepage, and is asking people what they think of it. Comparing it with the previous version, and you see the main story is much more prominent, there are some colour changes, and elements are rearranged, but there’s little else to speak of (except, perhaps, the “Error processing SSI file” messages I keep seeing).

This comes on the heels of its new Zone Musique site.