Worth a Look: The New Bag

Congrats to our friends over at BagNews with their wonderful and expansive redesign. Already the preeminent source for the analysis of “political” photography, Michael Shaw has outlined his plans to develop the project and their increased focus on original photography created for BagNews. The new site is easily organized in to three sections: the Notes, the Originals and the Salon. Absolutely worth digging in to the archives even if you follow the site regularly now, especially with their Visual Archive.

In the Originals section, which is organized by Alan Chin, they are featuring a serial by Anthony Suau, continuing his World Press-winning work on the “Great Recession”. The first post, with photos from the Detroit Auto Show, is called Success or sarcophagus?.

If you’re interested at all in how pictures can be read and interpreted once they’re out of the photographer’s hands, this site is a must read. Even my mother adores them.

Good design (and photos) can save a newspaper

Newspapers are dying for a few reasons. Readers don’t want to pay for yesterday’s news, and advertisers follow them. Your iPhone, your laptop is muc more handy than the New York Times on Sunday. …. It’s enough to bury any industry. So, should we rather ask, “Can anything save newspapers?”…We started to redesign [newspapers]…I wanted to make posters, not newspapers….Design can turn your company upside down.” –Jacek Utko on newspaper design

Recent news in the decline of newspapers and magazines reminded me of the above video of Jacek Utko explaining his successes in reinvigorating European newspapers through design. By radically transforming the visual culture of newspapers in Poland, Estonia, Russia, and elsewhere, the newspapers’ circulations jumped between 30 and 100 percent. In Russia, circulation jumped 29%, in Poland 35%, a Bulgarian newspaper saw a 100% jump in circulation just after a visual redesign.

Newsweek redesign

Newsweek Magazine redesign - May 25, 2009 issue Newsweek.com redesign - May 2009

From Bagnews comes word and visual evidence of the much talked about Newsweek redesign. The website has also been redesigned, and multimedia and photos seem to play a larger role (now with a separate section like at Time’s website!) The Guardian has some of the nitty-gritty, including this little nugget:

…the ex-staffer adds that senior managers have created a newsroom culture where “there is a total disdain and contempt for the kind of on-the-ground reporting that people like us, who grew up in the Newsweek tradition, [carry out]”. He claims that journalists based overseas were told that newsgathering could be conducted over the phone. The emphasis has shifted to comment and analysis, with more columnists and longer articles.”

Sounds like an opinion fueled by bad blood and the staffer in question hasn’t been in the newsroom for a few years…. The new design looks great to me, from what little I’ve seen. The website is much more readable than it was before, and the magazine is said to have an increased emphasis on photography.