Wednesday, 27 August 2008

International Herald Tribune: Trib or IHT?

Over the years there have been many internal discussions at the IHT about how to refer to the IHT. Seems like a funny thing for people not to be in agreement over what to call their product (I don't think there is a Pear camp at Apple) but there you are.

It wasn't oft helped by marketing people spending millions on calling it the International Herald Tribune and then publishers, editors and owners (normally Americans) getting up and calling it, on the record, or even in press releases from their offices, the Tribune or the Trib.

Naturally the Internet put something of a brake on such internal discussions, given the need to own, but most American readers and employees still refer to it as The Trib. French call it the Herald or the Herald Tribune, and Japanese people, it was often claimed by the Asian office, were incapable of pronouncing the International Herald Tribune even if they were supposed to be able to read it.

Now that we may be coming to an end of with the active workings already of then perhaps Trib could be back on the table.

No, it couldn't could it because it isn't the Trib anymore, it's the Global Edition of the New York Times. Isn't it? Heck, now I am confused what to call it. The Times Trib?

Let's not also forget the repeated reference by NYT people to the NYT as 'the Times'.

This is great if you're marketing the paper in Manhattan or even Denver, but a bit of a problem if you're marketing the IHT/Trib/Times Trib/Global Edition/Herald/Herald Tribune/Tribune in important markets like India and the U.K,. where if you say 'the Times' - and what follows may be difficult conceptually for many NYT people to grasp - the NYT doesn't come rushing to the consumer's front of mind.

Anyway, can we now officially scratch any ideas for official external use of The Trib now that this is exactly what the Chicago Tribune may be doing (according to E&P; usual denials, i.e. yes)?

Ironically: what many long term IHT (editorial, and in some cases and at some times, business) executives have argued for in the past for the IHT.

What remains on the table is the brand name, that's for sure.

And typographically the raised International on the masthead has never worked - clearly - and hasn't done so since the paper changed its name to the International Herald Tribune in the 1960s.

The first strategic questions any business asks itself is Who we are and what do we want to achieve?

At the NYT, right now, I don't think you could find total agreement on what the the IHT should even be called, let alone a deeper answer to the Who we are bit of the above, which doesn't bode well for the type of strategic plan the NYT will need to have for the IHT for it to succeed.

'Chicago Tribune' Redesign Prototype Boasts 'Trib' Nickname -- Here's a Glimpse
By Joe Strupp
Published: August 27, 2008 11:55 AM ET updated Wednesday

The Chicago Tribune has long been nicknamed "The Trib."

But if a redesign prototype being passed around the Web becomes the final choice, that nickname will be a formal part of the paper.

A prototype image obtained by E&P offers a radical change to the Tribune's legendary flag, with the older "Chicago Tribune" title placed in small letters at the top and a blown-up "trib" (in lower case type) set in white against a black background.

The redesign version, which is likely one of many being reviewed, is dated Aug. 4, 2008, with a Page One story about Barack Obama's advisor and friend Valerie Jarrett, an investigation into the use of school computers, and a teaser to a Chicago Bears story inside.

The slogan "HOME OF THE MIDWEST'S LARGEST REPORTING TEAM" is placed under the flag, along with a reminder that the paper's news is available "24 HOURS A DAY AT CHICAGOTRIBUNE.COM."

"I would caution you against accepting anything you have as anything other than a work in progress," said Tribune Co. Senior Vice President/Corporate Relations Gary Weitman. When asked if the prototype was among those still being considered, he said: "We are just not talking about it until it is debuted."

Weitman said the redesign is expected to debut before the end of September. So far this year, the company's Orlando Sentinel, South Florida Sun-Sentinel in Fort Lauderdale and Baltimore Sun have debuted redesigns. The new Sun-Sentinel boasts a large "S" in its new flag.
International Herald Tribune
New York Times

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