It is a great advantage if you can redesign a newspaper while being its editor. You are in the best possible position to know your readership and to tailor the look and structure of the paper to suit them.
That was the privileged role I had between 2010 and 2015 on the Western Daily Press, a Northcliffe-owned title – now owned by Trinity Mirror – that had fallen on hard times and was in need of some tender loving care. The redesign attempted to give the Daily Press a more measured approach to the news. Headline sizes – in the traditional and reliable Times Extra Bold – came down to just 42pt for page leads and the story count was increased. It was a big read and a good read, routinely boasting four pages of readers’ letters and daily sections for West Country farming, business, nostalgia and entertainment.
I loved doing this redesign and then working with it, day in, day out, to develop the Daily Press. I learned a huge amount from the readers and from the friends I worked with on the desk. They were a talented group, some of whom have taken the title forward while others have gone on to edit titles elsewhere.