Review of the front pages of corporate newspapers - with pictures, ridicule and recommendations
1. Isolated from the market
Factory newspapers for staff stand out in the communications industry. This niche is rather closed, because the corporate is turned inside a closed collective, which is doomed to be its loyal audience. Sales are guaranteed, no need to fight for a subscription and advertising. As a result, non-market incentives work in the niche. But they work!
Such newspapers have almost no contact with the outside world and even with each other (not counting "inter-party" contests). Corporate events are developed solely due to the ambitions of their leaders, who are willed by taking over (or not taking over) the advanced achievements of “big” marketing and “big” media.
As if in a closed pond of some inaccessible cave, there developed a special ecosystem with its exotic species. Among them can be found decently preserved organisms of the Soviet Paleozoic, which are still effective and coexist peacefully with modern methods of communication and design.
The borders of the niche are blurred, since the simplest samples can be made on the printer in a non-periodic manner. A more or less organized market, capable of hiring professionals, seems to embrace several hundred corporate newspapers for staff. Of these, about two hundred are known to narrow specialists outside the enterprise. The core of approximately one hundred publications has enough ambition to participate in professional contests.
However, since corporate communications in general are experiencing a boom, then internal communications, including internal newspapers, are developing quite dynamically. After all, they are supervised by the same leaders who are responsible for communications, marketing and the overall positioning of the company in the market. When the competition keeps in tune all the formats of communications, the long run cannot remain clogged - they pull it up. It develops, so to speak, in adjacency, in the neighborhood of other communication tools of the company. However, as a result, the best corporate organizations are not inferior to the “big” media in terms of the quality of materials and presentation, and most importantly, in interaction with the audience and the ability to solve investor tasks.
A review of the front pages of corporate newspapers will give an idea of this amazing world of communications between bosses and employees.
2. Between the magazine and the newspaper
The structure and design of a corporate newspaper for staff usually reflects the standards of a mass weekly, a kind of intermediate type of publication between a newspaper and a magazine. The front page of corporate newspapers, respectively, is a synthesis of a magazine cover and the first newspaper page. From the magazine got large illustrations, the central headline and announcements, from the newspaper - informational materials (the magazine does not print articles on the covers).
Different corporate media for staff implement a different proportion of “journalism-newspaperness” on the first cover. Closer to the magazine is, for example, the style of the front page "Oil and Gas". A "Banner of Labor-ZIO", on the contrary, to a greater extent reflects the typological standard of the newspaper.
The stylistic decisions of the front page of EVRAZ or Obukhovskiy Vestnik meet the standard of the weekly in their pure form, that is, they are about halfway between a magazine and a newspaper.
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3. Main illustration: plot
Whether the front page to the magazine style, or to the newspaper, the main element on the cover of the weekly is always an illustration.
Frontband illustrations of corporate newspaper covers are usually reduced to three typical subjects:
- Man with iron things
- Pieces of iron
People are social creatures, which means they are empathetic - they programmatically react to the emotions of others. A face charged with emotion always catches the eye. Therefore, a large emotional portrait is the best solution for the front page. He is guaranteed to attract the attention of employees rushing about their business past the newspaper counter in the dining room or at the checkpoint.
A portrait in the style of the Esquire cover rarely manages corporate newspapers. But the Soviet have their own pride - industrial portraits. Of course, they crammed the edge of the mouth, but for the factory newspaper they are quite authentic, and they look good on the page if they are well made and interestingly served.
A large portrait bears the risks associated primarily with the quality of the illustration, as well as the "quality" of the model. Moreover, it is not so much the model appearance of the character that is important as an interesting face and an interesting expression. The earthy colors, skewed and blurry, sullen faces, of course, will also attract attention, but not quite as the editor or investor would like.
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3.2. People in the interior
A group of people in a production interior is the second most effective plot of a front-line illustration. The role of emotions decreases (the face is smaller), but a reportage element appears - action, dynamics. In some cases, the important role played by the recognition of the event or action. The reader responds: "Oh, and I was here!" or "Oh, this is our workshop!". If the picture causes at least some emotion - this is good.
There are interesting solutions. "Trubnik" uses people in the interior finely, but a lot, which creates the effect of wall flashing - many readers turn out to be characters. And the use of an Internet meme with a girl in a yellow overalls, leading to the face, in the sense of the plant, and the title "Dreams come true here" is a masterpiece. The newspaper "For Copper" shows that people against the background of the industrial landscape can be put up so that they look alive. Yes, and in the title of the game (although the picture with the title is not very beating, but more on that below).
The main risk of a group picture in an industrial interior is that it is often killed with an irregular composition. For example, putting the heroes in the football wall on the background of equipment. If I publish a complete selection of such football walls in group illustrations, then almost all corporate newspapers will be upset. No one passed by this wonderful plot.
Since it is rather difficult to lure a high-class photographer to produce, the success of a group picture in an industrial interior is critically dependent on the technical task, on the parting instructions of the editor to the journalist and the photographer. Characters must be placed near the equipment so that they do something or communicate, it is necessary to find an interesting point of shooting. A collection of successful samples, borrowed from masters (as in a barbershop: "Do me like this!") Helps. Four or five proven plot will help the photographer to shoot great staged scenes with any characters.
3.3. Pieces of iron
The third type of illustration, piece of iron, should be recognized as the least effective and most common on the front pages. That is, equipment and industrial landscapes, often without people at all.
In the abundance of such illustrations are displayed either industrial enthusiasm a hundred years ago, or ease of execution - went and clicked. At the moment of choice, it seems to the editor that the picture will become the manifesto of factory patriotism and corporate power. But for the reader this color spot is often indistinguishable. It does not lure. A waste of space - the main place in the newspaper.
It should be borne in mind that the pictures of, say, construction sites themselves are very inclined to create a clearly unplanned sense of protracted or even post-apocalyptic devastation, especially if there are no people there.
Industrial interiors and landscapes should be used only if the picture claims artistic value and / or animated by people. To improve the artistic quality of deserted industrial images, you can use the following techniques:
- Panoramic shot, preferably wide-angle (fisheye),
- Shooting from the bottom-top or top-down, in inaccessible to human angles, preferably, again, panoramic.
- The light of sunset, sunrise, night lights.
- Contrast color of objects in winter shooting
- Paradoxical combination of objects: for example, a piece of iron and nature, a flower, a bird or a cat in a frame, etc.
Of course, there are other illustrative front page solutions in corporate newspapers. Always win those that have faces, even if it is a collage or selection. If people do not, then the picture will save only a special artistic value - an interesting perspective, a non-standard plot, an interesting design work.
Finally, an important condition for high-quality images on the front page is ... fold. Oddly enough, many editors believe that the reader at the front desk sees the page in the same way as the layout designer on the screen. In fact, the newspaper is almost always laid out in a minimized form. Only the top half of the cover is visible. It is worth paying attention to how the bend cuts off the face and heading.
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4. Main illustration and title
In the multimedia era, the proverbial multimedia influences back on paper. The picture should always play with the title - to make with it a single semantic element. For the main illustration of the front page, not a small signature is needed, but a large heading with a major lead or announcement. Otherwise, this illustration will, at best, remain a “dumb” spot, and at worst, it will be read with the next heading.
Alas, in corporate editions the heading and the picture are often the victims of different processes. Sometimes the title, referring to the illustration, does not correspond to it in meaning. The reader sees the whole strip at once. All large elements are collected (or not collected) in the reader's perception into a single image, which often does not coincide with the plan - the editorial plan. It is necessary to see as the reader sees, and to make him interested.
Here are two examples from one newspaper - "Vestnik AEM". In one case, the title seems to be a template, but with a picture it plays very well, it creates the desired emotion. In another case, the title is doubtful: it is unlikely that this powerful piece of iron will float away.
Of course, you can encourage critics to read the small print, so that he will still know that the blank in the flag illustration of "Vestnik AEM" is, in fact, a reactor facility for an icebreaker. But this does not negate the fact that the piece of iron in the picture does not look waterfowl.
If in the AEM Bulletin the piece of iron is floating, in Akron's Khimik it flies. Also asked for a joke that someone flew into the pipe. In Severstal (sample on the right), the joke with a cheerful worker and the title “60 years with coke” was also very successful. I wonder what the bosses said.
A common problem in the composition of the front page - the illustration often falls off of its text. For example, in the design layout of the newspaper "Airports of the Regions" it is not visually quite obvious that the flag image refers to the left article of the basement. Moreover, in this particular example, the title tells about the "night", and in the photo - a bright day. A similar problem in the example of the "Wallet" - the illustration shows not a pipeline at all. This gives rise to the feeling that the picture lives on its own, with some sort of small signature, and the article talks about something else.
As is often the case, the editors can say: "Yes, you get a grasp and understand everything!". But the reader is not required. On the contrary, it is the editorial responsibility to grab the reader’s attention at a glance.
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5. Name and cap
It is clear that a newspaper for personnel is often called by the name of a company, industry or product: Moscow Coke Chemical, Papermaker, Evraz News, Eurochem, Severstal, Power Machines, OMK Territory, Neftgazeta "," Elektrostal "," Tractor plants ", etc. Further, the name is made in the header.
Sometimes it turns out smartly, as in the case of the newspaper "Red October", which has preserved not only the style of the headlines of the Soviet newspaper, but also the order. By the way, the Soviet archaic in the circulation is sometimes quite appropriate, especially in factories with tradition. The name "For Copper" goes back to the Soviet style of the slogan. But here the cap is made in more modern design standards. However, the same Soviet pattern reigns in the headlines of the first page.
The name “For copper” has a small problem - since the word is already used in an indirect case, the name is rather difficult to incline further. Published in "For copper"? But the design, especially in color and font, the cap is not bad. By the way, looking at "For copper" one can not but recall the legendary "For Coke".
In most cases corporate corporate newspapers combine tradition and modern standards: traditional industrial paraphernalia meets modern marketing (announcements). But there are also originals, as in Mechelovsky Metallurg, which placed the logo of the publication vertically up to its full height.
Sometimes originality goes too far. In the following example, the name of the newspaper in the header is very skillfully encrypted. An outside person will never guess what the name of the publication is - "Our Firm" or "Our Farm". (I would say how to correctly, they repeatedly told me. But I always forget, but from the cap, alas, you will not understand. That is, the newspaper is remembered by the fact that ... its name is unknown.) Of course, you can always say that in an enterprise and so everyone knows. But I doubt that one hundred percent correct pronunciation of the name goes beyond the limits of the editorial board. In any case, a very risky branding reception. "Territory +" (sample on the right) also cuts the eye with a combination of Cyrillic, Latin and arithmetic symbols. But if you look at the photo, it becomes clear that the originality of the cap was derived from the company's corporate identity.
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It is also quite difficult for a stranger to find out from the cap the name of the newspaper of the UMMC holding. But here is a rather original design with a central switch, which allows you to start announcements around the logo.
Designers often put in the header graphic elements related to the content of a specific number. This is a good reception, at least outstanding effort of the publisher.
But the old problem reappears - blindness to unplanned senses, which sometimes arise as a result of a combination of text and graphics that “came” to the strip through different channels. For example, the picture in the following sample refers to the right announcement. But as a result, it turns out that for some reason the Chusovskoy metallurgist is sitting on the roof of a flooded house.
6. Announcements and permanent headings
With the growth of information volumes, competition for the reader's attention has increased dramatically. The work of the editor is increasingly turning into marketing: you must be able to sell the reader a specific article. One of the consequences was the appearance of announcements of articles on the front page. The trend has reached corporate publications: over the past three or four years, almost all the newspapers for staff have received announcements.
But it affects the "non-market" nature of the product. Announcements in most cases are executed formally. Ideally, the announcement should be the advertising slogan of the material, it should drag the reader inside. But corporate editors often perceive announcements as a way to report on important (for them) topic numbers, rather than sell the material to the reader.
Some publications on the front page do not serve on the front page advertising materials, but quite journal "content numbers." This is hardly a deliberate substitution. But instead of a market problem that must be addressed by announcements (to sell the material to the reader, to drag inside), the administrative task is solved: to show the saturation of the publication with information. In this sense, the replacement of announcements with “content” may look logical, although, of course, it distorts the global newspaper tendency somewhat. In the "big" newspapers, really competing for the reader, to kill a quarter of the first page with the "content of the issue" is an inadmissible luxury.
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7. Infographics and other chips
Another relatively recent trend, infographics (also reflecting the influence of multimedia on paper), has also moved in recent years from a large press to corporate papers and has taken a prominent place there, including on the front pages. A variety of "numbers" and graphics are quite simple in execution, take up little space, and always adorn the cover of the publication. All that is needed is the will of the editor and a little fiction.
The figure, photocount, photoanon, schedule - always give a special editorial work. It can be seen that the newspaper is a well-thought-out editorial product, an orchestra with an interesting set of instruments, and not a mechanical collection of texts.
Good relaxed portraits of the authorities, columns, clipping, obvodka or departure, celebrities, the abundance and variety of textures also always adorn the front page.
Завершая обзор, стоит отметить, что корпоративные газеты для персонала дают любопытное представление о том, как развивались бы инструменты маркетинга и коммуникаций в замкнутой нише без рыночных стимулов, но с довольно жесткими административными требованиями к эффективности. В нише корпоративок уже есть что полистать, хотя почитать еще толком нечего.
However, a large newspaper industry is nearing sunset. Traditional journalism is increasingly degrading towards marketing, while marketing is evolving towards journalism. Against this background, the demand for corporate journalism, including for high-quality internal communications, for internal "content marketing" will grow.
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Corporate newspapers will live longer than traditional publications, as corporations need a channel to influence workers who do not have access to the Internet in the workplace. The nonmarket corporate parties will be the key to their longer life. Corporations are already adopting technology, buying up specialists from large mass media. This means that the quality of corporate newspapers will also increase.