Printed media has been available as a medium to help spread news for centuries. The earliest printed newspapers date back to the 17th Century, and bulletins were often hand-written and circulated prior to the invention of the printing press. Over the years printing methods and circulation networks increased to allow mass-distribution of the latest news. However, the medium of print has been challenged as a news vehicle throughout recent history. Radio, TV and more recently, the internet have challenged printed newspapers by being seemingly more agile and with the perception they can reach a wider audience and potentially be more cost-effective.
It is interesting to consider how an established daily newspaper has responded to these challenges of modern technology. Have they found a way to stand against these threats, or embraced them to evolve and improve? We took a look at ‘The Guardian’ to find out.
History of the Guardian
Founded in 1821, The Manchester Guardian was launched by a group of non-conformist businessmen. In 1907 the Manchester Guardian was bought by CP Scott, becoming the internationally recognised ‘Guardian’ newspaper. This independent national newspaper printed the latest news daily for the people of Britain. The Guardian became the UK’s first full colour national newspaper in 2005, and began expanding its digital operations in 2009. In 2015 the Press Gazette reported the Guardian’s circulation was 174,941.
The Guardian’s Response to Digital Media
The Guardian’s response to digital media was particularly notable. Rather than being left behind by digital news websites able to break stories immediately, the Guardian placed digital at the heart of their strategy. They developed a ‘digital first’ approach, positioning themselves as one of the leaders in online publication. The Drum reported on the newspapers aims and the ways in which they achieved these:
- Twitter and BBM were used to report in real time, used as new ways to cover stories.
- The content offering was enhanced with engaging interactive material.
- A Facebook app and 7 mobile apps were launched, including iPad and Kindle editions of the paper.
- A US site was launched to increase international readership.
- Some areas of the site were automated to allow editors to focus on the areas users visited most, enhancing engagement.
Instead of being a digital follower, The Guardian positioned themselves as a leader in the online space and evolved from a newspaper to a news authority. MediaWeek named The Guardian’s website as the fifth most popular newspaper website in the world in April 2011. In May 2013 it was named as the UK’s most popular news website with 8.2m unique visitors per month.
Digital and Print Unified
In 2015 The Guardian unified design across digital and print globally for the first time. This not only provided a seamless connection between print and digital, it also encouraged flexibility and cemented their identity. The experience is continuous and familiar to readers however they choose to access the information, blurring the lines between online and offline. The Guardian is now neither one nor the other but both entities, allowing readers to consume the news in a way that suits their lifestyle, as and when they wish.
If you are interested in reading more about the digital and print world, read a recent blog we posted on how even in a digital world, print is making its way back to the top: http://www.citipostmail.co.uk/blog/in-a-digital-world-print-is-making-its-way-back-to-the-top/