A louder first voice and a more accessible last word

The Hindustan Times has a glorious history that begins with the words and inspiration of Mahatma Gandhi on September 15, 1924.
Updated on Aug 31, 2020 09:36 AM IST
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Hindustan Times, New Delhi | ByDr. Mario R. García

Nothing can be better than to engage in transformation when an organisation comes from a distinguished history. Such is the case for the Hindustan Times, the newspaper title you have trusted for almost a century. History alone does not sustain an institution, but it fosters it, reinforces it, and, in the case of a newspaper it gives it a sense of stability, authority and credibility.

The Hindustan Times has a glorious history that begins with the words and inspiration of Mahatma Gandhi on September 15, 1924.

“Every word and sentence published in the paper should be wrighed. There should not only be no untrue statements, but no suggestio falsi or suppressio veri.”

The Mahatma’s message represents the first voice and the last word and it is as inspirational today as it was then. So, what a responsibility it is for those involved with the transformation of this iconic Indian news title. I am honoured to be involved with this transformation, as I have been withpreviousengagementswith the Hindustan Times as well as its sister newspaper, Mint. What is different is that this transformation in 2020 — one in which the world wakes up each day to the surreal times of a pandemic — comes at a time when the media landscape is in the midst of an unrivaled revolution. So much has happened in the past 10 years to change the way we consume information. We live in a multimedia world. The days of a person reading the newspaper in the morning with that first cup of coffee, and then not getting any more news till the next day are finished. Today, we are bombarded by news and information 24/7. Many turn to their mobile devices as many as 114 times or more a day. Headlines are there to be consumed, tempting us to read stories constantly. We lean forward to read those headlines, and lean back to read the stories beyond the headline.

In a multiplatform world, an average news consumer may journey through three of those platforms in the course of a day. Perhaps starting a story in the printed edition of the newspaper, only to continue reading on the phone but finishing the story at the larger screen of a desktop computer at the office. It is in the midst of this amazing revolution in the way we consume news that the Hindustan Times has undertaken this ultimate transformation.

I have accompanied the team of the Hindustan Times through this careful planning and detailed analysis of the existing product and how to improve it for the needs of news consumers today.

Here are some key centerpieces of our work:

1. The brand: A return to a nameplate (logo) that shakes hands with the rich past of the journalistic institution that is the Hindustan Times. 

2. Multiplatform approach: The Hindustan Times as a true multiplatform title for our times: The new Hindustan Times offers the information when you want it, how you want it.

3. Linear/mobile storytelling: Stories must be told with narratives and visuals. This is real transformation at work in the craft of journalism in your new Hindustan Times.

4. Easier to navigate content: We value your time with our news brand. We want to make it easier for you to navigate from section to section, regardless of platform.

5. The special characteristics of print: You will see the care and attention to detail that has gone in our rethink of the print edition: larger photos and graphics, more modular layout that is more visually appealing and easier to consume.

6. Visuals at a glance: Through a system of “social cards”, you will see highlights of stories — the best quotes, the story in numbers, the key points of longer stories.

If times were different, I would be present to witness the birth of this new Hindustan Times, my project #729 in 121 countries. I am there in spirit — and working closely with creative director Anup Gupta and his talented team via Zoom.

This new Hindustan Times would make the Mahatma proud. It will now be a louder first voice, a more accessible last word.

CEO/Founder, García Media Senior Adviser on News Design/Adjunct Professor Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism Hearst Digital Media Professor in Residence (2013) garciamedia.com

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