Mid-April launch for redesigned Globe properties

The Globe and Mail is gearing up for its biggest change in a decade.

Next month, the grand dame of the Canadian newspaper scene unveils a decidedly modern new look, which Globe and Mail publisher/CEO Phillip Crawley calls the biggest change for the paper since it added colour i.e. colour on the news and features pages (for photos and graphics) in 1998. This rejuvenation will be seen across all of the Globe‘s print and online properties and is fueled by a major investment in talent across the board. About 20 new journalists, photographers, graphic and web designers have been added.

‘The paper has changed a lot in the last 10 years and this change that we’re going to make in April is a full-blown redesign – a new type face, new body text, and a new style of presentation. It’s going to look like the Globe, but a significant evolution from where it has been,’ Crawley explains. ‘What we’re trying to do is position ourselves for the next 10 years. We feel the market still wants what we have to offer, we just have to keep evolving in a way that keeps us moving ahead.’

But unlike past changes at the Globe, the scope of this revamp goes wider and deeper than a simple facelift and reflects the company’s focus on, and investment in, content and its cross-platform delivery. The ideas behind the changes came from a company-wide process called re-imagination that began in the fall of 2005. About 250 staffers from various departments were selected, divided into 20 teams, and asked to put together presentations on where they felt the Globe should be heading with its print and online businesses. Business cases were developed for the ideas with the best chance of success.

Research was also a big part of the process. Crawley says readers acknowledged that the paper does a good job of its traditional fare – coverage of news, politics, and business – but they wanted more of the lifestyle content that they’ve been enjoying in the Saturday Globe. As a result, a new section called ‘GlobeLife’ will be added to the Monday to Friday editions of the newspaper to feature lifestyle content such as health, food and wine, design and home décor, fashion and other topics that relate to readers’ day-to-day lives.

Changes will also be seen online with the unveiling of a new website in mid-April. Currently, the Globe has a multitude of sites dealing with various topics. The redesign will not only give the online properties a fresh new look, but will make it easier for users to access the content they’re looking for without having to travel to numerous sites.

Earlier this month, Report on Business Television (ROB TV), which launched in 1999, was rebranded Business News Network (BNN). This was done to link it more closely with CTV, since it operates as a separate television entity under CTV News and not as a division of the newspaper, although Globe journalists continue to be onscreen contributors. The ROB brand is now associated exclusively with the Globe and the April launch will reveal the new look of ROB‘s print and online platforms and reinforce its Globe connection as well as its business strengths.

Crawley says key to the overall evolution is content. ‘We believe what matters most is the creation of quality content – and not just commoditized content that you can get anywhere. If it’s special insight, special value, then people will look for it whether it’s in print, online, on their cellphone, Blackberry, or on their TV. That’s what we make sure we do, that we invest in the people who create that content.’

In addition to staffing up with journalists, photographers, and designers domestically, the Globe is looking to improve its business coverage by adding a new European correspondent and an Asia-Pacific correspondent.

The Toronto office itself has undergone some redesign to further the seamless creation of cross-platform content by more closely integrating the web and print journalists and designers.

A major advertising campaign heralding all the changes is scheduled to kick off in mid-April with a teaser campaign followed by TV, radio and OOH advertising.