Why a rethink?
When the idea of a redesign was first suggested to me, I took a long pause. Is a redesign really necessary? Is it even something our readers want? Will our advertisers welcome the idea of a redesign? Why would we even want to do it? The hard questions that the Inquirer brand poses are now directed to ourselves.
After several rounds of meetings and visioning discussions with the team, we realize that it would be a fantastic chance to review how we were engaging the public and lock in on this historic opportunity to have the reader experience take center stage.
Unprecedented innovation project
In this era of multiple platforms and pervasive access to information, we realize our role in society follows a requisite responsibility to en- sure the Inquirer content is not just consumed, but experienced.
We have seen foreign papers redesign and integrate their content. And while the Inquirer is a pioneering champion in digital innovation–with a sizable following in web, mobile, social media and mobile chat–a truly integrated brand that ties the reader experience as readers hop, switch and consume multiple platforms at the same time is something we have yet to create.
The challenge is to bridge the needs of readers to provide the fullness of experience possible with every platform–enriching the stories within and providing layers of enjoyment or angles of stories unique to every platform.
More than just redesign, it is a rethink
A redesign project of this magnitude is unprecedented in Philippine media. It is not just mere changing fonts or layout. It required adjusting processes, IT infrastructure, rebridging story philosophy, skills upgrade of personnel and training every Inquirer and partner to look at news differently as a multiplatform experience.
We invited Dr. Mario Garcia, journalism’s design guru, to help us what a redesign entails and what we can expect to gain from such an endeavor. As chief architect to more than 700 projects in 120 countries, and senior leader in Columbia University School of Journalism, we were confident our idea of a rethink will bear fruit.
He convinced us to take the path taken by newspapers like Aftenposten of Norway, La Voz of Argentina, Mint of India and the Gatehouse Media Group of the US which have undergone transformation, either through format change or a rethink. Ours will be a transformation beyond aesthetics.
A true media quintet
In this multiscreen world we live in, we need to evolve our content to reinforce the role of Inquirer as an essential part of the daily habit.
Our brief is ambitious, but clear in what we want to give back to our readers: from the moment of discovery and promotion of news, to casual browsing, to leisurely reading or to a deeper dive into analysis and opinion–the Inquirer experience must be consistent. It must address the needs our various audiences–each with different needs and interests, and overall it must be an enjoyable read.
Working with Dr. Garcia and collaborating with his Garcia Media team of consultants, our advertising partners can look to the Inquirer with confidence that their brands are not disrupting the reading experience, but actually supplemental and enriching to it, that from the moment a reader picks up on a story, discovers it on social media, and follows as it grows into bigger stories–their brands can be present to support this experience. We will now have creative opportunities for them to present and amplify their brand messages anchored on the philosophy of the media quintet: watch, mobile, web, tablet, print.
Creating a unique Inquirer experience
The Garcia Media collaboration led to numerous workshops and research that taught us a lot of insights on reader behavior and information consumption. More importantly, it has taught the Inquirer a new standard on an innovation process that will now be ingrained in the entire organization.
What may have started as wanting to appeal to new users particularly millennials has evolved to a need to address the Inquirer in everyone. An “Inquirer” that is a personal experience, moving and empowering–one that can be said as theirs, or “My Inquirer.”
We have thus developed new experiences for readers who are looking for more interactive features, our digital platforms provide them a venue to express their sentiments, contribute their own generated content and do something good for the community, in other words, more ways to engage with us.
To say that we have embarked in this process because we needed to update our look is missing an important point.
Sure, great visuals make readers pay attention but great, compelling content are what sustain readers’ interest over time. The impact is even better if great content and great visuals go together. But that is not all. We added a third feature and that is, great interactivity and user experience to help readers easily navigate our platforms from fast to slow, from small screen to big screen, from lean forward to lean back reading.
The Inquirer and the concept of everywhereness
As Dr. Garcia puts it, we are in the era of the media quintet where news continues to play an important role in the lives of people. However, storytelling must evolve to cater to the different needs of readers’ throughout the day, from the moment they wake up to the time they go to sleep, regardless of platform.
The change that you see is not just aesthetics but at its core, it is about quality journalism updated with new interactive features to create an engaging user experience.
From watch to mobile, to web, to tablet and to print–any consumer can dive in and discover new content and have an enriching experience through each or combinations of experiences in these five platforms. With info everywhere, we can help curate this experience and make it less it cluttered and unorganized.
Taken together, the Inquirer media quintet is an ecosystem that keeps you engaged and lets you discover exciting things. It’s a system of collaborative news–one where our readers can contribute news through Citizen Inquirer via mobile.
More things to come
Consider these changes the beginning of a new era in the Inquirer’s rich history.
We are in a continuing innovation mode and responding to the ever-changing needs of readers is a priority to ensure that for this generation and the next, Inquirer will always be a part of their daily lives.
We hope you will like it as much as we do. As we reveal more innovative ways to enjoy the news, we invite you to allow yourself to discover new sections, columnists, features that we have included.
Watch out for more exciting things to come.
Go to http://my.inquirer.net to experience the most engaging Inquirer yet.
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