March 22, 2007

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New, improved but...

It seems curious in the extreme that ex-SCMP editor-in-chief Mark Clifford would choose to leave right about now. In the mail yesterday the SCMP kindly informed me they are revamping their paper and website. Doug has some more info on the changes and Brand Republic repeats most of the SCMP press release:

Leading English-language daily newspaper South China Morning Post (SCMP) is gearing up to unveil a new look on Monday in a bid to bridge its print and online products. The launch comes a week after editor-in-chief Mark Clifford announced he was stepping down from the role amid a series of recent staff departures.

The SCMP, which last redesigned three years ago, will display new typefaces which allow for longer, more detailed headlines, improved infographics to sit alongside news stories and a new colour scheme for each editorial section to identify the respective section.

Clifford, who is expected to take up a regional role with an NGO after joining the SCMP from The Standard in 2006, was one of the driving forces of the change, according to SCMP director of marketing Amanda Turnbull, who added that Clifford had managed the paper through a “tricky” period of change which saw the departure of several editors. “It was his decision to step down, and although the staff situation in recent months has been unfortunate, operationally he has been very good at helping us look at what we need to do,” she said. Editor CK Lau will take on additional responsibilities, and there are no plans to fill Clifford’s role.

The revamp, which was led by James de Vries of Deluxe Associates and SCMP production editor Ben O’Neill, also includes a number of secondary devices which are aimed at pointing readers to other sections of the newspaper, along with prompts to the SCMP’s online property, which itself is expected to relaunch with a new look in May. “It’s part of an ongoing move to give readers more access points, in conjunction with work that we’re doing in digital,” said Turnbull.

Wouldn't Mr Clifford want to see his baby through? And is this yet another triumph of form over substance? Will changing the paper improve its content? It can't get much worse.

In perhaps one of the better examples of what is wrong with the (unlinkable), there is no mention of the forthcoming redesign or changes to the online page on their own website.

posted by Simon on 03.22.07 at 10:40 AM in the SCMP category.


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