Newspapers have to adapt to a new media landscape. Instead of wasting time debating whether print is dead or whether online can support a newsroom, we have to focus on what we deliver to readers. But the fact is that compared to the daily paper, newspaper Web sites don’t offer the best reader experience. Innovation is happening in small doses, but news design takes a back seat to content management systems that convert thoughtful layout into a sea of same-sized headlines.
Let’s reinvent how we see news design on the Web. By using a grid system and adapting the same visual storytelling elements from print design, anyone in the newsroom (not just programmers) can adapt the online product into a flexible-but-formatted presentation of the news as it happens, across all digital platforms. We should be able to deliver an experience beyond RSS readers and news aggregators. PaperNews is the opportunity to bring visual journalism to the digital age.
Build for readers, not robots.
Editing and design have a place in the newsroom. Where do they exist on the Web?
Think PaperNews has potential? Spread the word and let people know about this #KNC10 application.
What is PaperNews?
A template or a CMS? Are you trying to just model the website after the paper?
PaperNews is not replacing your content management system. And it’s not a pre-built template with a logo slapped on it. Rather, it's middleware
that plugs into existing open-source (and eventually commercial) content management systems. Rather than being locked into specific template, PaperNews relies on a CSS grid framework and lets each news organization define a style within that system.
Baked into PaperNews will be a powerful set of tools and widgets to enable anyone in the newsroom to build a page without extensive training. For example: Build scheduled pages for the lunch-time surfers instead of rehashing what they might have already read in the morning. Shape a breaking news package around a photograph, multimedia or a river of hash-tagged tweets. Make a hyperlocal community hub, curated by a reporter or community editor who knows the neighborhood.
Are we modeling the newspaper after the paper product? Absolutely not. Both media have their strengths and weaknesses. Print’s greatest advantage? Experience. The Internet is still growing, still changing, and we can't unopen the box. But visual journalists have been innovating with news design for decades. The value of integrating design with editing—curation with creativity—is one that can't be thrown out with the print product. Designing for the Web has its own challenges and limitations. But with PaperNews, building a page doesn’t require wrestling with a content management system or extensive custom coding.
Read the latest notes on the application process, along with other news and technology innovation, on Update.
Is print dead?
It doesn’t matter. We'll take the best parts of print and evolve them for the screen. Welcome to the future of news design. p>
Let's examine the humble print story. In the print ecosystem, a reporter would co-ordinate with a photographer, hand off extra information to a graphic designer and let a designer layer all the pieces together and determine with editors where the story should go in tomorrow's newspaper. But after a reporter's story grinds through a typical content management system, readers are lucky see more than a headline buried on the homepage—no context, no layering, no big picture.
With PaperNews, the story comes alive. Want to add a Google map or embed a video? No prob. Chain together all the stories on the same subject from the archive? Of course. Throw in a quick poll? Anything is possible. Since PaperNews will be an open-source framework, modules
can be built for nearly anything and saved in your toolbox—a digital arsenal of information layering. The sky will be the limit for the PaperNews community. But first, we've got to build it.
- Get funding from the Knight News Foundation for PaperNews.
- Build an open-source framework to rapidly build news Web sites.
- Change how readers see and read the news digitally—forever.