Thursday, 9 June 2011

SCMP Relaunch - A Second Look: The Tabloids

A couple of weeks since the relaunch and initial look, here are a few more snaps of the inside of the paper.

These are from the City section. I haven't been buying it every day, but for the days I have, I hadn't noticed any more embarrassing placeholders going to print.

I don't know how I feel about those orange speech mark lookalikes that appear before the block quotes either. They're really... er... big?

I thought I might get used to it, but the headline type still baffles me. It's so narrow and the tracking always seems too tight! Left alignment is normal, but with this font, font width and tracking it just seems to be really uneven (see photo below "Attempt To Boost..."). Mario Garcia says that he was inspired by how the city wakes up, and in Hong Kong it's full speed from 6am, but I can't see how this type is conveying this to me...

However, to be honest, I've been mostly interested in the new special-interest/tabloid/liftout format. The Food & Wine one in particular that comes out every Thursday, because of personal interest in more ways than one... This is probably the best thing that's happened to English food publishing in Hong Kong in a while. I love the varied approach - restaurateurs, critics, bloggers, um, Jeannie Cho Lee (mais bien sur!)

Of course, there's also the Life Style section (is it two words or one?!) that non-newsy people like me are always eager to flip through. I peeked at the paper every Friday since the relaunch and finally the first edition was released last Friday.

Can't say I was too excited about seeing Mr. Ford on the cover. Nice interview by Divia Harileila (her new blog is well worth subscribing to, by the way) but the rest was a bit blah. The sports car article threw me off a bit, but I guess that's just coz I'm a girl? I don't know, whenever I see yachts and sports cars I think "mainland" or "vulgar bling Russian". Much as I now have my reservations about Monocle, I think it's an understated luxury mag done right. But then again, who are SCMP's readers? Are they mainland/Russian blingsters? But they don't read in English... Are they students? Expats? In fact it's not just the style liftout, but the whole paper that begs the question.

(This Toys Club ad is pretty sad too - can't they advertise in the Family liftout (which comes out Sunday I think)?)

With Friday's paper came the Style Magazine - a glossy, luxury fashion/design magazine with lots of ads - or maybe the whole layout/look and feel felt like an advertorial/in-house magazine. There was some decent, insightful writing such as this Thomas Heatherwick feature below, but there were some fillers too.

So that's my leung sin (that's 2 cents in Canto, haha). As for the digital versions, I'll leave those for another day. But let's just keep it at this: I like the iPad one. Just wish the tabloids were on it too - the iPad is so perfect for lifestyley magazine content. The website remains sucky and the paywall makes it even suckier. If the NYTimes can figure out a social media-friendly model, we can at least copy it!

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