"Welcome to the most significant redesign in The Globe's history," Editor-in-chief John Stackhouse wrote Friday in a note to readers explaining the new look of The Globe and Mail newspaper and of globeandmail.com.
"Why change? Over the past year, our weekday print circulation grew 5 per cent last year, and 6 per cent on weekends - when our competitors were all in retreat. Our online traffic is up 20 per cent. Our mobile traffic is up 500 per cent. And our journalism keeps winning international recognition - this week with our second consecutive Emmy Award for our work in Afghanistan. This year's Emmy went to Behind the Veil, a video series about the lives of women in the land where Canadian troops are fighting and dying. Editor and Publisher has named our website the best newspaper-affiliated site in the world."
On Monday, Mr. Stackhouse was online to take reader questions about the redesign - here's the transcript from that Q&A:
Jennifer MacMillan: Hello, and thanks for joining us today. I'm The Globe's communities editor, and I'll be moderating our upcoming chat with editor-in-chief John Stackhouse about The Globe's new look.
Comment From Lea V. Adinn: Why the re-design?
John Stackhouse: We think we're in a strong position both in print and online and felt that rather than waiting for others to challenge us, we should take the lead and develop both a newspaper and digital platform that would support significant growth for the decade ahead.
On the print side, we now have access to new, state-of-the-art presses that allow us to use colour in every section on every page and create graphics and photographs that would rival many magazines. Online, we're trying to evolve our site to be friendlier for users and improve the navigation to the broad range and depth of content that we think differentiates The Globe from many other digital media in the country.
Comment From Adam Edgerley: The new Globe is very distinctive and I think it looks great. Could you share what other newspapers you looked to for comparison, influence or ideas when planning this redesign?
John Stackhouse: Rather than study the U.S. market which is fairly depressed in terms of newpaper innovation, we looked to quality papers in southern Europe, Latin America and parts of Asia and found a great array of ideas that encouraged us to pursue a bold and confident look as well as a design that would continue to support great, in-depth journalism.
Comment From Stet: Why didn't Rick Salutin fit in with the hip new redesign? What an insult to your loyal readers. Just who are you trying to attract with this stunt?
John Stackhouse: With all due respect, it's not a stunt. Rick had a great run with us. In fact, 19 years is almost unheard of for a columnist. We're constantly evaluating our array of columnists and felt it was time to look for some fresh voices. I realize there's some concern that we have lost interest in so-called progressive voices. I'd suggest you watch our evolution over the next few months in terms of voices that we'll be adding to speak to 21st century Canada and then decide.
Comment From Boethius: Hello. I very much welcome the changes to the print edition of the paper. I like the slightly smaller size of broadsheet, improved layout and more dynamic graphics. One question though - why are the front pages of the front section and the Life section on glossy paper rather than newsprint? I prefer the texture and look of the newsprint. Otherwise, I think the redesign is excellent. Thanks,
John Stackhouse: Great question - glossy paper is new to Canadian newspaper readers and will require some adjustment. It's used more commonly in other parts of the world and has the great advantage of enhancing photography and colour graphics as well as highlight the overall quality of a publication. One of the principal goals of the redesign is to raise the quality of The Globe at a time when we feel many other media are reducing their quality.
Comment From Web reader: I'm not a fan of the "break" you have in your web articles now. I like reading the first few paragraphs without a visual interuption... instead you throw in some links to old stories right near the top.
John Stackhouse: I understand the concern - in the early days of our redesign some of the breaks have appeared higher than I would personally like. We're trying to balance giving readers a strong sense of the story as soon as possible with the choice to go to other related Globe stories.