How much smaller can a newspaper sheet get before it becomes a newspaper chit?
From 60-inch web presses (the old Wall Street Journal or The Hindu) which generated very wide 15-inch by 22¾ front pages, we have come down to acceptable 54-48 inch web presses which generate 12½ to 13½ inch front pages (New York Times).
Broadsheets (like The Times, London) which didn’t want the label of tabloid went for a “compact” format, while others like The Guardian, went for an in-between “Berliner” size.
Publishers have passed off each new size in the name of good design, ease of use, diminishing attention span, doing less better, etc, although the most compelling reason—the rising cost of newsprint and the need to cut costs—was the most decisive factor, but rarely revealed to the reading public.
But can we cut the newspaper size even further?
Juan Antonio Giner of Innovation Media believes so. His company, in collaboration with with Bermer and Company, has unveiled what it claims is a “new format” for newspapers, at the 2008 World Association of Newspapers meet.
Called 3030, Giner says it’s not a concept for the newspaper of the future, but the newspaper for today.
How much longer before somebody cuts 3030 into half, and how much of a “new format” would that be?
And how much longer will publishers and designers dance to the tune of accountants and auditors without tackling the core reason for the diminishing returns, which is content?
In the end, there was nothing?
3030 Photograph: Bermer/ INNOVATION
Showcase photograph: Wikipedia
Of course, 3030 is not just a format, is a new editorial idea with a new way to present and deliver content for a new generation of readers.
The new brand 3030 means that we produce content that can be read in 30 seconds and at the same time includes content that could de read in 30 minutes.
The newspaper industry is desperately doing everything to keep the print medium alive. Cutting the size of the paper is just one step in that direction. But even if “relevant content” is produced to put into ever smaller newspapers, the plain fact is that news consumption is undergoing a seminal change and readers are more and more switched off from physical newspapers. That is something neither publishers nor designers are willing to acknowledge or tackle.