When Straits Times first got their makeover about less than 2 weeks ago, I was lost. "Breaking News" merely linked me back to the first page which features only 5 "top stories" that rotates on its own; sometimes leaving little time for you to read the abstract. They have since kept their abstracts to one liners but that’s not the only peeve. The "latest news" link seemed to have disappeared completely too, and it was only after much clicking that I realised that they moved the entire thing to the bottom of the first page. Having non-distinct titles like "Singapore", "SE Asia", and so on doesn’t help much to distinguish it from the regular "Print Edition" section. I am just hoping that a brown background means latest news and a blue one signifies current print.

"The Print Edition" section no longer seemed to exist anywhere on the page and it was only after much navigation that I realised that it was renamed to "The Straits Times Digital". There’s perfectly no inkling that "digital" would mean "The Print Edition". Going into this section used to present (almost) the entire set of headlines. Now, it only presents 5 headlines and you’d only get to view all of it when you click to go into that particular section. Worse, to get back to the main page, you’d need to click on "breaking news". The "home" button simply returns you to "The Print Edition".

Now, The New Paper is contemplating a makeover. I shudder at the thought of having to relearn all the navigation on the website. Then again, I don’t really frequent there often. Yet.

Oh, did I mention about the irritating ad that keeps popping out like a sore pimple?

The New Paper to get a makeover

It marks its 20th anniversary with new look, edgier content; revamped paper out on Sunday

By Diana Othman

THE New Paper (TNP) will be getting a makeover to mark its 20th anniversary.

The revamped daily, which makes its debut on Sunday, is promising a new look, more sports and edgier columns.

‘The paper’s brand of purposeful and lively journalism…has evolved over the years,’ said editor Ivan Fernandez.

‘After 20 years, we have acquired a lot of experience. We want everything we cover – local news, lifestyle or sports – to have street-wise edge.’

Advertisers got a sneak peek at the redesign during a dinner last night at Dempsey Hill.

The paper will feature a new masthead, new fonts and a new colour palette. The masthead, though, will retain TNP’s iconic tick.

Mr Fernandez said the colour scheme will change every day, giving it a ‘chameleon-like look’.

There are also big changes planned for the inside pages.

A new column called Street Talk will provide commentaries on trends, reports on hot-button issues and interviews with movers and shakers.

A Harvard-trained economist will write a twice-weekly column called Boston Brahmin, which will tackle normally dry money-related topics in a punchy and easy-to-digest way.

TNP will also expand coverage of lifestyle issues, entertainment and sports – especially soccer.

The paper’s London-based soccer journalist Iain Macintosh will be accompanied by a new voice, Ms Alison Ratcliffe. Also based in Britain, she will bring a women’s perspective to the English Premier League.

There will also be a Punter’s League where readers can pit their prediction skills against one another and win prizes.

Meanwhile, Mr Fernandez said the newspaper plans to build on its strengths, such as human interest stories. He said TNP aspires to convey information to the man in the street in an interesting way.

TNP’s readership is 531,000. Its average circulation this year is 112,386 for the Monday to Saturday editions, and 138,565 for Sunday.

The new Sunday edition will offer a magazine-like lifestyle section titled Enjoy, with robust entertainment and lifestyle coverage.

There will also be a section called Inflation Beaters, which will contain tips on how readers can save on their shopping bills. It will be accompanied by two pages of coupons, offering hundreds of dollars in savings.

The response from guests after the presentation last night was positive. They lauded the vibrancy of TNP’s new design and colour palette.

‘It is quite funky and has more energy,’ said Mr Anthony Kang, president of advertising agency Dentsu Singapore.

‘I think it can appeal to the young but, at the same time, its essence will remain just as strong, especially in sports and entertainment.’

Others offered equally glowing reviews.

‘I like it! It is very colourful, just like a magazine. The different-coloured mastheads are also interesting,’ said Ms Lily Chandia Halim, a product marketing manager from Acer Computer (Singapore).

She added: ‘I find the new TNP more comprehensive, especially how the content is arranged in its different sections.’

diothman@sph.com.sg

Source: Straits Times Interactive, http://www.straitstimes.com/Singapore/Story/STIStory_268252.html

Article extracted from straitstimes.com on 15th August 2008



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