Media Magazine

Is “seriously Silly” an Option for the Media? Only with the Right Editor

Posted on the 16 August 2012 by Themarioblog @garciainteract

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TAKEAWAY: The second in The Clip Report series is out and it points out the various modes in which media companies are operating today in terms of content, from the serious and immersive to the more popular and silly.  Is it possible to attract readers and to establish a good brand identity by adhering to both?  PLUS: Some elegant and very visual Olympic pages from the Times of Oman

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In case you have not read it yet, there is a second edition of
%0AThe%20Clip%20Report%20Volume%20II:%20The%20Continental%20Content%20Divide" title="The Clip Report">The Clip Report that you should not miss.  The Clip Report is a series on the future of media.  This second one explores what the authors describe as the widening The Continental Content Divide.

What I like about this report is how cleverly it hits on the main centerpieces of where our discussions should be today.

Coincidentally, I have had three emails yesterday from acquaintances in the industry who do consulting work and/or speak at gatherings of publishers and editors.

The question from all three: what do you see as trends?

More than trends, we need to focus on what should be the topics of discussions.
And The Clip Report 2 offers us a panoramic window into some of these.

Serious or silly or both?

I like the two categories the authors have come up with to separate content that most people today are exposed to: serious versus silly.

Indeed, the serious and the silly appear to be forever intertwined.

Just today I was watching a CNN report about the Congressman Paul Ryan, the man chosen by Mitt Romney as VP on his Republican ticket.  There is plenty to report on Mr. Ryan and his proposals for eliminating the debt and taking a second look at such programs as Social Security and Medicare.  That is the serious part of Mr. Ryan, the newsmaker who one day may be a heartbeat away from the Presidency of the United States.  The silly side has to do with his passion for fitness, his body and the interest of thousands who surf the Internet,  in vain, to look for a picture of a shirtless Congressman Ryan.

Serious and silly, sort of like Fred and Ginger, Lucy and Desi, Amos and Costello, Tom and Jerry.

And, it seems, those publishers who tag along with the serious and silly duo may not do as well as those who opt for the second centerpiece of The Clip Report 2: immersive experiences for the reader, where the information is the type the reader seeks and is willing to pay for.

It is the information we need, and we find it in such publications as The New York Times, Financial Times, The Economist, The Wall Street Journal, among others.

If we were to equate serious versus silly in terms of religion, I can imagine the dramatic difference between the person who kneels to pray quietly as opposed to the one who prefers to join a full church community, as in a revival, a shared experience. Both may be useful and ultimately achieve the same end. We choose the one we are most comfortable in.

The sharing experience

The immersive journalistic experience is a more meditative experience. In fact, it is an experience for which the tablet is ideally suited.

At the end, however, we may wish to share what we have learned. My experience shows that sharing is an important component of how we consume media today.  Maybe we immerse in the process of getting the information, but then we switch into sharing mode quickly.

Sharing has become so prominent that often times content will be decided upon for its sharing potential.  Content that triggers sharing may be considered more desirable than that which does not. 

In 2012, if you ask me what the trend is, I would say that it is a lot of publishers trying to straddle both worlds, the immersive and the silly—-not an easy feat. And perhaps something that might be difficult to achieve, although it can be done, if one can arrive at good definitions of the two—-especially what “silly” means.

In fact, only last week, while discussing the once a week printed newspaper I suggested a happy cocktail by mixing two German newspapers, the very serious and immersive Die Zeit, with the very fun and smartly silly Bild. Two very different newspapers for two audiences that reside on opposite ends of the scale.

The key to straddling both worlds and having a newspaper that travels both as immersive and smartly silly is the editor.

It takes a very special editor to do silly smartly. 

It is a matter of understanding the difference between immersive/serious and fun/silly.

The Clip Report 2 helps us to think about the differences.

Pages we like

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The London Olympics are over, the athletes have flown home with or without medals, and everyone has pronounced the 2012 Olympics a big success.

These pages from the award winning Times of Oman—-one of the best designed newspapers in the world—-remind us of the glory of the games.  I like these pages sent today by Adonis Durado, design director of the Times of Oman.  The elegance, simplicity and powerful use of photos here—-in what seems to be a Flipboard style design—-are worth taking a look at.

The following pages from Times of Oman are devoted entirely to informational graphics on some aspect of the London Olympics:

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The curious item of the day

Why is the BBC buying so many copies of The Guardian?

The BBC buys lots of copies of the Guardian. What does that really say?


No wonder the Guardian is the most bought newspaper at the BBC. Both are imbued with a public interest ethos

Of special interest today:

- New stats show iPad surging again as Kindle Fire, Nook Tablet fall


Market research firm IHS iSuppli shows that iPad shipments surged in Q2 2012, as Amazon’s Kindle Fire and Barnes & Noble’s Nook Tablets saw major drops. Kindle Fire’s share of the media tablet market fell to 4.2 percent, with B&N’s at 1.9 percent.

SPD: Speaker Series Begins with “News You Can Use

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(Joe Zeff Design Illustration, courtesy of SPD)

Tickets are now available for the Society of Publication Designers first Speaker Series event of the fall, “News You Can Use,“ scheduled Sept. 10.

For more information:

SND Scandinavia Space 2012 conference

Still time to get a spot to attend the SNDS conference in Copenhagen, Sept. 27-29;

For more information:
SNDS workshop ever. Read all about SPACE 2012 here:

The iPad Design Lab: Storytelling in the Age of the Tablet

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Video walkthrough of the iPad prototype of iPad Design Lab

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Mario Garcia’s upcoming speaking engagements:

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WAN-IFRA World Editors Forum, Kiev, Ukraine, Sept. 2-5

Cumbre Mundial de Diseño en Prensa 2012: Mexico City; September 24-26

SND (Society of News Design) Cleveland; Oct. 11-13

TheMarioBlog post #1077

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