By Dan Kennedy • The press, politics, technology, culture and other passions

First thoughts on the Herald redesign

As you can see from the page image at left, at least one late edition of today’s Boston Herald included the Red Sox’ heart-thumping win over the Angels. But not the one I bought on the North Shore at 3 p.m.

I’d be perfectly happy if the Herald switched to Web-only distribution. But I can’t imagine this is what Pat Purcell had in mind when he outsourced printing to Rupert Murdoch’s Wall Street Journal plant in Chicopee.

Herald editor Kevin Convey tells the Phoenix’s Adam Reilly there are still some bugs to be worked out:

In the early going, we’re being extremely conservative about our press times and deadlines to make sure we get the paper out on the street. As time goes by, I expect that our ability to put complete information in more papers will increase to a considerable degree.

As promised, the paper looks a lot better, even though it has shrunk vertically by quite a bit. Photos, including color, are sharp both inside and out. The stories were already so short that making them a bit shorter still shouldn’t make much difference.

In the current confused media environment, it’s hard to say with whom the Herald is competing. Mainly, it’s competing for people’s time. If I had 20 minutes to while away, I’d much rather drop 75 cents on a new, slick-looking Herald than, say, pick up a free Metro Boston, because the Herald’s got more and better content. And now it looks better, too.

On that basis, the new Herald is a success.

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  1. Stella

    Put lipstick on a pig and it remains pork

  2. G

    I agree with your analogy. The paper is now competing with the Metro. So if you have some spare change, you may pick up the Herald. If not, you’ll go with the freebie.This is ultimately good news for the Globe, since it may be able to shore itself up as a true monopoly paper, but it’s such a shame that the newspaper economy has reached this point.

  3. Ron Newman

    Metro also frequently lacks late sports scores. Tuesday’s paper had no article about Monday’s Sox victory.Meanwhile, the Icelandic financial troubles that took down BostonNOW seem to have gotten much worse this week, complete with large bank failures and angry depositors (some of then in the UK).

  4. krembo

    Out with the letterpress, in with the offset.

  5. Amused

    Not a fan of Joe Fitz, but he hits the nail on the head when he talks about feeling the vibration of the presses running. If you’ve never done it, you’ll never understand the feeling of sending the last page (late, if you’re any kind of a journalist at all) and waiting to feel the rumble start to build, rummaging through the first copies that you grabbed off the conveyor to make sure you didn’t inadvertently do something stupid (or to make sure the brilliant idea you had on paper is still brilliant when it’s in a form that will be seen by the multitudes) and getting ready for the replate, the next edition, the chaser, whatever it was called in your shop. Now you press a button and send proofed pages, not to see the product until hours later. Ink-stained wretches are now miles from the ink. Not only that, but you no longer get to see the crazies who worked in the mailroom, a slice of life right out of Barney Miller as they fed inserts and pre-prints into machines that inexplicably found the center fold. And what do cub scout troops see when they visit papers these days? No press rumbling. No compositors slicing, folding, pasting; slapping paper with wax, a few bursts of the x-acto and suddenly a page emerges, commas turned to periods with a single stroke, creating a bite-off that works and saving a page editor the angst of recasting a story. Now the cubs might as well tour an insurance office. Without feeling the bells and the rumble signaling the start of the manufacture of the product that took an all-out, civility-be-damned-just-get-me-the-copy frenzied last hour before deadline, journalists might as well work in an insurance office. Keep your bits and bytes, give me ink, noise, and a press foreman’s bitching about waste, overtime and how ‘we’ll never get that last foto stripped in and you want it in process color?!”

  6. Amused

    As Tiny Tim would say if he worked in newspapers;Goss bless us, every one.

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