Jonathan Edwards College
After being accepted to the class of 2012, I spent a lot of time on the News’ website. It helped me to feel like a part of the Yale community long before I arrived on campus. The News provided a window into the lives of Yale’s most important resource: its students.
Functioning as a window into life at Yale seems to be a core value of the News – it is instructive, informative and offers a unique space to explore the very meaning of the Yale experience.
I pick up a copy in the morning to make sure I don’t miss the announcements, to chuckle at the Pundits who to distributed fake “Cold War” syllabi and to retain perspective on life at such a brand new place.
With the addition of “Cross Campus,” I feel like I’m reading a newspaper akin to The Wall Street Journal, rather than just another college daily.
Contact information listed with each article makes it easy to connect with the News. The newspaper business must attend to both product and service and an improved focus on transparency and feedback allows for new dialogues between the News and its readers, ensuring quality and efficacy.
The new design also makes the paper look like a sleekly designed webpage—it’s easily navigable by those accustomed to digital news and media. Extra space around articles makes them easier to digest and reduces cluttering that can occur by cramming articles closely together, allowing readers to browse through the paper for pieces of interest with quickness and ease.
Redesigning the News is not just about “making it look pretty” – it’s about making sure that it continues a 130-year tradition of relevancy: to Yale students, staff, faculty and administration; relevancy to Yale alumni and donors; and relevancy to friends of Yale and citizens of New Haven.
The News has put itself ahead of the curve by designing a publication intent on addressing the daily lives of university students: busy, chaotic and unpredictable. In doing so, it will continue to be a paper that people actually want to read and not just something to browse over breakfast.
It’s always jarring, initially, when something familiar is redesigned — like Facebook, or the Cross Campus Library. Eventually one gets used to it, and the appearance of the once-familiar original becomes as foreign as the new version first did. This will happen, I’m sure, with the brand new News, for me and for everyone else. But in the meantime, while I’m still feeling discomfited, some nitpickin’:
Sans-serif headlines don’t seem serious. Yesterday’s prominent “All Smiles, But No Bid” looked like it came out of a Word processor, not an old-timey printing press.
Why not maintain the magisterial illusion? This is Yale, where the stone facades were acid-washed and the window panes broken in order to be mended. The appearance of antiqueness dominates the campus aesthetic. Try for an update and you get Morse and Stiles.
The new News also has a glut of empty space. This seems intended for enhanced readability, but it makes me feel vaguely condescended to. Can’t my eyes be trusted to make sense of a thoroughly printed page? Space seems wasted. Where happened to the tightly choreographed organization — with little room for rest or error — that in my mind defines the Oldest College Daily?
And why has the front-page teaser box been moved to just below the nameplate? It’s now above the top-most headline, directing attention to lesser stories within the paper before the front-page news can be deciphered. This, along with the new “Cross Campus” column made up of bits of information no longer than two or three sentences, creates a sense of front-page schizophrenia, a short-attention-span style better suited for a Web page than for a newspaper. I’ll admit, though, that the nameplate and its surroundings now make better visual sense.
For the time being, I can’t stop staring at the gulfs between columns, my mind blank as a margin.
But never fear, News, I’ll still read you with pleasure. I’m a super-senior on the meal plan: In a dining hall, you’re all the company I’ve got.