National Press

Throughout time, the Guardian’s media platforms have hugely changed and expanded due to the change in technology like most newspapers. Nowadays, news organisations have to change their ways of presenting their stories because audiences wants and needs keep changing.

The newspaper was first founded with the name The Manchester Guardian, by John Edward Taylor in 1821. It was published every Saturday for 15 years, until a Wednesday edition was introduced in 1836. Then it was eventually turned into a daily newspaper, when the cost of production was reduced. Throughout the changes in publication dates, ‘the paper increased its circulation, remained commercially successful and achieved critical acclaim for both the quality of its journalism and its innovation'(1).

When it comes to the design of newspapers, the Guardian changed everything on 12th September 2005. This is because they launched the Berliner Guardian ‘in a mid-size format'(1) drifting away from the broadsheet size, which made them ‘the first ever UK national newspaper ever to adopt this size'(1). They also ‘became the UK’s first full-colour national newspaper'(1). These changes to the design of newspapers made them become for visual and appealing to audiences. This change in size for the newspaper would have meant that the Guardian had less space to fill, and they may have started to shorten news stories. In a sense, this was the beginning of ‘dumbed down’ news.

Online publications for the Guardian began been developed in 1994-95. Their online content grew throughout time, and they had individual sites for sports, jobs and news events. In January 1999, all these websites were then launched onto one site as The Guardian Unlimited. This unified content made the process of viewing different content a lot more simple, and it made everything more easy to access. In 2000, ‘Guardian Unlimited won best design for an interactive newspaper'(2) at the US Eppy Awards. They were also awarded as the ‘best newspaper on the web in the Newspaper Society Awards'(2). The Guardian Unlimited was the most popular UK newspaper website by March 2001, as it had ‘2.4 million unique users'(1).

Although having a a website was great for the newspaper, it meant that customers weren’t paying to view the Guardian’s content. In 2003, ‘Guardian Unlimited introduced paid for services for an advertisement-free version of the website'(2). This other version allowed the newspaper to stand out and be appealing enough to make readers pay for the website, as they were offering a hassle-free experience that is purely content which is what people want when they go online. As well as another website version they also introduced crosswords, the Wrap (a daily summary of the UK paper’s content sent in an email) and the Informer (an email sent at lunchtime ‘of the day’s news and a preview of the next days paper'(2). These summaries of the day’s news sent in emails are really good because they draw audiences into visiting the website if they want to know more about a certain story, they also make the process of reading the news faster and more simple which will help busy readers.

In March 2004, the Guardian launched digital editions that allowed people access to articles, images and adverts and they appeared like they did in print. This was a pointless and poor design for the website because it meant there was no difference between going online and buying and actual newspaper. It also may have made it difficult for online readers because it’s likely it was hard to navigate and digest all the articles on the page.

Then a few years later, ‘Guardian Unlimited underwent a redesign of the whole site with interactive content, images, graphics and video'(2). This meant that the Guardian thought it would be best to create more immersive experiences for readers to make themselves stand out and give readers more of an insight into stories. The most groundbreaking immersive experience the Guardian created was probably their coverage of of a bush fire in Tasmania in 2013 (http://www.theguardian.com/world/interactive/2013/may/26/firestorm-bushfire-dunalley-holmes-family). This piece follows the story of a family facing the fire and throughout it sound, images and videos were used. The layout of the story is really good because it’s broken down like a book, into chapters, and you can chose which section you would like to see.

As well as the redesign, the website launched a comments section, in 2006, at the end of stories which allowed users to express their opinions. This also made the website a lot more interactive for audiences as it gets people involved. By having a comments section, it will also help the Guardian keep readers interested in their news coverage as they can find out what the audience would like to see.

Moving on with technology, the Guardian launched an app for iPhone’s and iPod Touch’s in 2009. This app was downloaded ‘nearly 70,000 times in its first month’. Clearly, the Guardian had made the right decision to create the app for the most popular technology devices. After this, the Guardian then expanded their digital platforms and carried on launching new applications. Their applications include ‘Kindle and iPad editions, Android and Blackberry apps, Facebook app, Guardian Witness and new digital editions in the US and Australia'(1). This expansion on digital editions helps the Guardian expand their audience, and they allow themselves to reach out to as many people as possible. The Facebook app is particularly good because it is the most used social media website. The app allows friends to share stories with each other and talk about them, which is called social news.

Overall, the Guardian have been around for a very long time and I believe this is due to the transformations they have made. I think that if they didn’t keep changing and introducing more editions, they would fail as a business because it is really important to meet audiences needs. Some media organisations have failed to keep up with technology and have stayed in their traditional ways, making them fail to keep audiences engaged. I think the Guardian are one of the best news organisations in terms of their changing technology.

 

 

Bibliography:

 

(1) http://www.theguardian.com/gnm-archive/2002/jun/06/1

(2) http://www.theguardian.com/gnm-archive/guardian-website-timeline

http://www.theguardian.com/world/interactive/2013/may/26/firestorm-bushfire-dunalley-holmes-family

http://mg.co.za/page/history

http://www.dandad.org/en/guardian-redesign/

http://academic.eb.com/EBchecked/topic/247912/The-Guardian

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