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Nancy Barnes
Minneapolis Star-Tribune
Minneapolis, MN

425 Portland Ave.
Minneapolis, MN 55488-0002
Work: 612-673-4951

"Experiences are ways of converting traditional news judgments from editors' definitions (what's most interesting, what's most important, what you can't believe just happened) to readers' definitions of how they react (what makes readers feel informed, what gives them something to talk about, what tells them the paper is looking out for their interests.)"
Anders Gyllenhaal, editor, Minneapolis Star Tribune

Conducting pioneering "Experience Paper" work on reformatting dailies for a 21st-century, time-limited audience.

Barnes named editor of Star Tribune

Editors at the Minneapolis Star Tribune teamed up with The Readership Institute at Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism to try and create a newspaper more appealing to readers under age 29. Nancy Barnes, deputy managing editor / enterprise, volunteered to head the research effort. She drew together a group of under-29 newspaper employees and asked them: Why do you read the paper; why don't you read the paper?"

The answers lead the team to propose a rethinking of the way news is presented -- different story forms, headlines that have a voice (talking to the reader), and the concept of "five things you should know" as touchpoints for each day's paper.

The results are now being implemented at the paper.

To see "before and after" examples of page designs, click to this PDF file on the Readership Institute website.

Newspaper-industry observer Tim Porter profiled the "Experience Paper" project in an April 15, 2005 post on his blog, "First Draft."

Alan Mutter also reviewed the project on his blog, "Reflections of a Newsosaoar", on April 21, 2005.

Mutter's review includes a visual of before-and-after pages.

The Visual Editors forum and blog has a thoughtful thread about the Star Tribune effort, begun by Daryl Moen, a journalism professor at the University of Missouri-Columbia, with a response from Mary Nesbitt, one of the Experience Newspaper researchers, and several posts by working journalists, including a particularly good one by someone at the Lawrence [Mass.] Eagle-Tribune who writes as a proxy for 20-something journalists and their non-journa list friends. The link is below.

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