April 13, 2010

The Newspaper Logo Wars: Who's Winning & Who's Losing?

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Moving a fledgling media brand like the The Madison Avenue Journal from a monthly to daily was much easier than many 100 year-old newspapers which have challenged with integrating a digital-focused new media "sister" group with the flagship brand. Who's winning, who's losing and at what price is it costing them both?

How did we do it vs. how did they do it? Well, it was probably much easier for us. We began with some research and a glint in the eye. Our favorite saying is "You're Either New Or You're Through" so the goal was to illuminate and juxtapose that in a humorous way.

Everyone who touches the business of Madison Avenue can't help but identify with the fact that the industry we toil in is too often a "Mad" Avenue.


So if our cluster of contributors were going to produce a daily, we realized that the old fashioned type face found on numerous newspapers might complement our new tongue-in-cheeky tagline.


With multiple years buying newspaper advertising across the country, we were aware how many papers used that old English style font. Almost all of them that still exist today go back 100 or so years and are proud of their legacy logo.


For better or worse, upon surfing the net-versions of the same newspapers, we found that many logos within the newspaper structure, now that added a .com department to the traditional organization had lost their authenticity. They had become bi-polar.


That is, their newspaper still used the paper's legacy type-face, yet the online version logos looked nothing like their older sister pubs.


Sometimes the evolution going from the 100 year old logo was more draconian than Darwinian. Sometimes the changes were simple, like adding the word "online" to the logo, or "on the web."

Yet, we had to wonder for whose benefit were these additions really there for. If readers were already on the site, wouldn't they know the content was online, or on the web?


Was this an example of satisfying a different audience other than the readers, or more specifically was it of the egos, fears and opposite agendas between the paper vs. digital departments? It's not hard to guess which one was working hard to maintain the history/brand equity of the brand while the other trying to dust it off and bring a new look for a new generation of reader/skimmers.


Having a fair amount of experience juggling offline with online we imagined the in-fighting that went on in newspaper conference rooms debating such weightless issues as to how to satisfy the paper vs. digital departmental prejudices with the other.


As a result, our own path of logo re-identification therefore appeared obvious. Known for being renegades to some degree, as detailed below, we went from a new media contemporary logo to a clearly old style English type face:



Over the last few months, we've worked hard to take you through what we learned about the medium founded by Guttenberg. The results of this exploration to date have been profound. We've been so enamored and entertained by our discoveries that this "loco-logo" analysis seems to be one of the best decisions we made.


Unfortunately, not that many journals have been as successful. If you take a look at how each of the six major newspaper holding companies have successfuly waged their traditional vs. online logo wars, you could see the battles have left each division scarred.

We'll let you categorize which ones are more in-sync vs. bi-polar in their design. We'll cover both local and national vehicles, with special attention on our hometown tablets. For example, if we look at just two of the major newspaper companies, one of which has just been sold, we provided a link which will take you to each of their long lists of newpapers, which list the link of each paper they publish.

Once you get there, click on several of the links and you'll see the merging, integration or down right refusal of each group to be flexible to each news groups preferences, which consequently list both logos, side by side in a clearly dysfunction way. You decide.

Knight Ridder Newspaper Site Link Differences

(Aberdeen, S.D.) AberdeenNews.com
(Akron) Ohio.com
(Belleville, Ill.) BellevilleNewsDemocrat.com
(Bellingham, Wash.) BellinghamHerald.co
(Biloxi, Miss.) SunHerald.com
(Boise) IdahoStatesman.com
(Bradenton, Fla.) HeraldToday.com
(Charlotte, N.C.) Charlotte.com
(Columbia, S.C.) TheState.com
(Columbus, Ga.) Ledger-Enquirer.com
(Contra Costa, Calif.) ContraCostaTimes.com
(Duluth, Minn.) DuluthNewsTribune.com
(Fort Worth) Star-Telegram.com
(Grand Forks, N.D.) GrandForksHerald.com
(Lexington, Ky.) Kentucky.com
(Macon, Ga.) MaconTelegraph.com
(Myrtle Beach, S.C.) MyrtleBeachOnline.com
(Olympia, Wash.) TheOlympian.com
(Philadelphia) Philly.com
(St. Paul) TwinCities.com
(San Jose, Calif.) MercuryNews.com
(San Luis Obispo, Calif.) SanLuisObispo.com
(State College, Pa.) CentreDaily.com
(Washington D.C.) KRWashington.com
(Wichita, Kan.) Kansas.com
(Wilkes-Barre, Pa.) TimesLeader.com

Gannett Newspapers Logo Differences

The Montgomery Advertiser

The Arizona Republic, Phoenix
Tucson Citizen

The Baxter Bulletin

The Desert Sun, Palm Springs
The Salinas Californian
Tulare Advance-Register
Visalia Times-Delta

Fort Collins Coloradoan

Norwich Bulletin

The News Journal, Wilmington

FLORIDA TODAY, Brevard County
The News-Press, Fort Myers
Pensacola News Journal
Tallahassee Democrat

Pacific Daily News, Hagatna

The Honolulu Advertiser

Rockford Register Star

The Indianapolis Star
Journal and Courier, Lafayette
Chronicle-Tribune, Marion
The Star Press, Muncie
Palladium-Item, Richmond

The Des Moines Register
Iowa City Press-Citizen

The Courier-Journal, Louisville

The Town Talk, Alexandria
The Daily Advertiser, Lafayette
The News-Star, Monroe
Daily World, Opelousas
The Times, Shreveport

The Daily Times, Salisbury

Battle Creek Enquirer
Detroit Free Press
Lansing State Journal
Daily Press & Argus, Livingston County
Times Herald, Port Huron

St. Cloud Times

Hattiesburg American
The Clarion-Ledger, Jackson

Springfield News-Leader

Great Falls Tribune

Reno Gazette-Journal

New Jersey
Asbury Park Press
Courier News, Bridgewater
Courier-Post, Cherry Hill
Home News Tribune, East Brunswick
Daily Record, Morristown
The Daily Journal, Vineland

New York
Press & Sun-Bulletin, Binghamton
Star-Gazette, Elmira
The Ithaca Journal
Poughkeepsie Journal
Rochester Democrat and Chronicle
Observer-Dispatch, Utica
The Journal News, Westchester County

North Carolina
Asheville Citizen-Times

Newspaper Network of Central Ohio
Telegraph-Forum, Bucyrus
Chillicothe Gazette
The Cincinnati Enquirer
Coshocton Tribune
The News-Messenger, Fremont
Lancaster Eagle-Gazette
News Journal, Mansfield
The Marion Star
The Advocate, Newark
News Herald, Port Clinton
Times Recorder, Zanesville

Muskogee Phoenix

Statesman Journal, Salem

South Carolina
The Greenville News

South Dakota
Argus Leader, Sioux Falls

The Leaf-Chronicle, Clarksville
The Jackson Sun
The Daily News Journal, Murfreesboro
The Tennessean, Nashville

The Spectrum, St. George

The Burlington Free Press

The Daily News Leader, Staunton

West Virginia
The Herald-Dispatch, Huntington

The Post-Crescent, Appleton
The Reporter, Fond du Lac
Green Bay Press-Gazette
Herald Times Reporter, Manitowoc
Marshfield News-Herald
Oshkosh Northwestern
The Sheboygan Press
Stevens Point Journal
Wausau Daily Herald
The Daily Tribune, Wisconsin Rapids

Let's together continue to watch the evolution or revolution of how these organizations integration or lack their of deal with the ever-changing requirements of being comtemporary in this 21st era, so-called modern age.

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