Jun 4, 2008

The architecture of newspapers

I've been thinking for a long time about the structure of the newspaper, how the physical depth and the page layout - the careful placement of photos, headlines, graphics and stories - draw readers' eyes to information they weren't looking for, allowing for connections and discoveries to be made.

Cass Sunstein, a professor of law and political science at the University of Chicago, calls this the architecture of serendipity. Thus far, most blogs and Web sites fail to provide this dynamic interplay of ideas. Their convenience makes them less interactive. They are flat.

If the physical newspaper is to die, or diminish, I hope news organizations spend some money trying to recreate - even enhance - this alchemy online, rather than settle for the cheapest recipe and the easiest delivery system.

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

They'll do it on the cheap, that's what publishers do.

Anonymous said...

Newspapers had 300 years to devise simple but fairly elegant solutions - as Gary well described it - to arrange content on a series of physical pages. As the content slowly became more complex - typography, hot lead, wood cuts, photos - there was plenty of time to sort out an effective visual solution. Today, there is a hyper rush. There are plenty of dynamic solutions being created by professionals and non professionals, though Craiglist shows how crude design can be effective. The new social media sites are responding at light speed. I agree the job would be done poorly, and cheaply, if left to publishers. Users will develop visual solutions - and already are.

Anonymous said...

^^ nice blog!! ^@^

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