Fear of change and delays in adapting and retooling new and old concepts – these are the reoccurring mistakes Mario García has observed through 40 years of redesigning publications and consulting for more than 700 media companies in 120 countries.
Mr García is a veteran media designer, passionate educator and new media enthusiast who will speak at The Future Forum, hosted by The Newspaper Works at Sydney’s Hilton Hotel in September.
The world-leader designer will use the Future Forum to discuss how the media handles storytelling and design in the era of the media quintet – the age of smartphones, tablets, print, online and smartwatches.
“A modern media house recognises how news moves and designs it for a multi-platform media world,” Mr García said.
“It took a long time for newspapers to embrace the basics of good visual journalism during the 1980s. Now we find that adapting to digital is just as difficult. Many editors come to work to plan tomorrow’s newspaper, instead of dealing with the realities of quality-now journalism, the constant flow of information, and the fact that we live in the midst of the journalism of interruptions.”
The designer has simple advice for media organisations wanting to take advantage of the design and storytelling potential of new media.
“Be open and be adventurous,” he said. “When someone says: Why not do this? The answer should be: Why not?”
Mr García is founder and chief executive of global media consultancy firm García Media whose clients include The Wall Street Journal, Washington Post and South China Morning Post. But as the designer is always keen to mention, he is first and foremost an educator.
Mr García has lectured at universities across the globe, founded the Graphic & Design program at The Poynter Institute for Media Studies and published an e-book entitled ‘iPad Design Lab: Storytelling in the Age of the Tablet’.
He was also appointed the Hearst Digital Media Professional-in-Residence for 2013–14 at the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism, where he still teaches today.
“Nothing makes me happier than to inspire a group to take our craft to the next level,” said Mr García. “It is a dream fulfilled to be exchanging ideas with what will be the next generation of storytellers.”
“Teaching has played a crucial role in my career, and the real teaching takes place in the newsrooms I visit, and how we are able to come together and to embrace new ideas. That is still what propels me to travel almost one million miles a year and to be on the go constantly.”
In 2012, Mr García was part of a key research team investigating how tablet users read and interact with news.
More recently, he was involved in research with Stibo Accelerator and Aarhus University into how news is consumed on smartwatches.
“I believe [smartwatches] will be an accessory of great interest to millennials,” Mr García said.
“My [Future Forum] presentation will touch upon the importance of learning how to prepare information for the smartwatch and for what I call “at a glance journalism” in an era of constant interruptions. Messages must be brief, well-crafted and direct.
“The era of the media quintet is here.”
The Future Forum is an annual symposium for news media professionals that features masterclasses, the Newspaper of the Year Awards, as well as presentations from industry leaders that this year include WPP CEO Sir Martin Sorrell and News Corps’ Senior Vice President of Strategy Raju Narisetti.
The Future Forum will be held at the Sydney Hilton on Thursday, September 10, and Friday, September 11. Click here to register.