Leveling the Playing Field for Tablet Newspapers
On the surface, the Tablet levels the playing field for publishers large and small, providing a way for everyone to sell their wares in an electronic form with unprecedented capabilities to connect with their audiences. But in reality, it may be that Apple has given a significant head start to a small group of hand-picked corporations that may make it impossible for anyone to keep up. Expect to see McGraw-Hill flaunt its futuristic textbooks during Steve Jobs' announcement today. Prepare to see Arthur Sulzberger on the stage with his generation-next New York Times, loaded with features that took months to develop. And then picture the thousands of publishing executives who weren't invited to Cupertino, huddled in front of their office computers and scratching their heads about how to replicate the efforts of Apple's hand-picked few — months of research and development, access to Apple's strategies and developers, and significant marketing advantages of being annointed by Steve Jobs himself.
The magazine industry has addressed this issue through partnerships. Last month, Time Inc., Hearst, Conde Nast, Meredith and News Corp. merged forces in a consortium headed by former Time Inc. executive John Squires. As a result, they stand a much better chance that someday soon their executives will get the toolset needed to Tabletize their publications and maintain pace with everyone else. The newspaper industry lacks that organization, and needs to immediately deploy similar strategies in order to keep up with the Sulzbergers.
Joe Zeff Design is partnering with Garcia Media and Garcia Interactive to help faciliate this process for the newspaper industry. Dr. Mario Garcia has 40 years' experience redesigning the world's leading newspapers (most recently The Wall Street Journal) and news websites, and has worked with more than 560 media organizations (mostly newspapers) in 90 countries worldwide. His son, Mario Garcia Jr., oversees the interactive division, and just finished the new website for the financial daily of Germany, www.handelsblatt.com. Joe Zeff Design is led by the former Graphics Director of Time magazine and a Presentation Editor at The New York Times. (That's me.) My studio has designed hundreds of major magazine covers, and offers a unique combination of editorial experience and animation capability that is precisely tuned to the needs of Tablet-driven publications.
Together we can provide newspapers worldwide with the tools and talent to thrive in this renaissance of newspapering. Mario and I are planning to meet in New York City on Feb. 20-21 to discuss the future of the newspaper industry, and we invite publishers and interested parties to join us. Once more information is available, we will post it on our respective blogs: joezeffdesign.com/blog and garciamedia.com/blog
We'll be glued to our MacPros today to learn more about the Tablet. Exciting times ahead.