Newspapers are multi-faceted things, addressing the needs of many different groups of readers. But that makes the need for a coherent thread, a single unifying idea or characteristic, -a set of brand values if you like, more not less important.
It’s a point that Guardian newspapers might care to consider when they assess the effectiveness –or otherwise of this week’s last-throw-of-the-dice redesign of The Observer.
It is in part brilliant, in part dire and on the whole, totally confusing. I suspect that my confusion as a reader reflects the lack of certainty at Guardian newspapers over exactly what the paper should be doing.
The overhaul has been thorough, starting with the paper’s most basic ‘architecture’ – its rag bag of supplements and sections. Three of the excellent monthly magazines have been spiked and the paper has been reduced to four sections: news, sport, an expanded Review section and the magazine.
So far so good. It feels more focussed and somehow more confident.