Region 1 update

Connections:

Region 1 now combines the former first and second regions, and runs from Virginia to Maine. Lee Steele, design editor for Hearst Connecticut Newspapers, is your regional director. Contact me at lee@leesteele.com.

· Region 1 has a new blog to connect members: http://sndeast.blogspot.com is a good vehicle for getting and sharing information. If you care to follow some tweets, we’re also on Twitter: http://twitter.com/SNDeast. Lots of news designers use Twitter. One even uploads his front page as it evolves though the evening. Find out who on our Twitter page.

Redesigns:

Newspapers in Region 1 have been re-thinking presentation, emphasizing visual consistency and readability. Redesigns were predominately in-house projects.

· The Providence Journal shifted more news content to its A-section and launched two new sections, projoNation and projoConsumer while increasing pointers to projo.com. Rob Schneider, AME/presentation at their sister paper, Dallas Morning News, consulted.

· At the Star-Ledger in Newark, readers were told that the major thrust of the changes was to improve readability. The body copy took on a slightly larger type size, and condensed type was minimized. An editor’s note on A1 promised: “we’ll no longer squish, scrunch or squeeze those headlines to fit our new page size.”

· The Roanoke Times merged their national, local and business sections on weekdays. They also banned jumps from section fronts other than A1, making pages more text-heavy. Staffer Carrie Cousins says their designers were successful in redrawing section fronts. “Stories are easy to read and follow and the designers have done an excellent job of making pages with more text than they are used to very readable, engaging and clean.” (JONATHON – I’m also attaching a PDF of their local front.)

· Hearst’s four dailies in Connecticut began an overhaul expected to be completed by spring of 2010. Frank Mina, AME/presentation for the San Francisco Chronicle, a Hearst flagship, is the Connecticut project’s consultant and I am overseeing design locally for the group. Hearst also unveiled new Web sites built on a new platform. (www.ctpost.com represents the largest newspaper in the group.) Reader interface was improved, as was automation with the Jazbox newsroom front-end system.

New projects:

· Dan Zedek, AME/design at the Boston Globe, is starting a monthly column for snd.org focusing on creative solutions.

Upcoming events:

· SND will hold a roundtable and workshop in midtown Manhattan as part of the Society of Professional Journalist’s annual spring meeting on Saturday, April 10. We are looking for volunteers to help us share our ideas with editors coping with tighter budgets and smaller staffs.

· A meetup in New England is also planned this spring. Two potential hosts have come forward, so expect a more concrete announcement shortly.