Tuesday, March 13, 2007

America falling behind in yet another category

Romenesko on Poynter highlighted an article that states that the Society for News Design did not award a North American newspaper with one of this year's four design awards. Not only no North American, but apparently no English-language papers either, though the four were from Europe (papers from Estonia; Madrid, Spain; Frankfurt, Germany; and Copenhagen, Denmark were awarded, and can be seen here).

so what's the issue? Is this something to be worried about? Maybe; maybe not.

It is worrying that two countries with huge newspaper industries - the US and UK - couldn't muster a winner between them. But this may, as the SND's Scott Goldman says, may be due to the industry's climate right now:

"You see a different attitude toward newspapering in other parts in the world. And I think that must have to do with them not dealing with the bottom line issue as much as American newspapers are. Most American papers are cutting at all costs and then sitting back and wondering why advertisers and the readers aren't coming. There is not yet even one leading newspaper chain willing to say that if we put our resources into building a better newspaper, making something that you can't miss, that is irreplaceable every day, then the readers will come and the advertisers will come."

I definitely see that angle to the story, and it's a reason I don't want to work for a newspaper...one of the many. But at the same time, this is just a 'first'; Goldman also points out that one of the winners two years ago was the Hartford Courant and the previous year featured the San Jose Mercury News.

It's a blip on the radar, but it is something to think seriously about.