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Kenya’s oldest newspaper gets a fresh look

KENYA
By Kirsten Kanja | April 8th 2021

MD Broadcast Joe Munene (from left), ICT CS Joe Mucheru, Editorial Director Ochieng Rapuro and Standard Group Deputy Board Chairman Dr. Julius Kipngetich during the relaunch of The Standard newspaper at the Standard Group offices in Nairobi on April 8, 2021. [Elvis Ogina,Standard]

As the oldest paper in the country, The Standard has evolved in the more than 100 years of its existence, adjusting constantly to the changing world around it.

During the colonial times the paper remained “a typical European people’s paper concerned with the happenings in Britain and urging subservience to the settlers”, says Absalom Mutere and John Baptist Abuogo in The History of The Press in Kenya.

The Standard went through a revolution after African editors took positions on the publication in the 1970s. It was the beginning of more than 100 years of survival through governments, history and the development of Kenya.

In the century-long journey, the publication has had to shift with the times while maintaining its position as a formidable and reliable force in Kenyan journalism.

“The Standard remains an interesting experiment. It has survived two World Wars, Kenya’s liberation struggle, transition to independence and, ultimately, transition to multiparty democracy and marched into the new century. As a newspaper of record, it has run an uninterrupted 116 years — and 100 years since its incorporation — surviving governments, management changes, rebranding and redesigns, while making inroads in other media to expand its remit,” wrote renowned author Peter Kimani in 2018.

Kimani is making a comeback in the new-look The Standard as a columnist, serving you a slice and dice of politics, culture and society.

The need to tell powerful stories through a “deep-dive approach”, using imagery backed up by data, was a major driving force towards a re-brand of The Standard’s new format and structure.

Starting today, the publication will show a new face of story-telling, make a fresh mark with its branding and change its design to make it easier for the reader to navigate through the news and understand it.

“There was a challenge in finding a balance between consistency and distinctiveness for all members of The Standard family - newspapers and magazines,” reads in part the official design concept by Einhorn Solutions, the designers from Germany.

The new design is on a five-column grid featuring bold headlines and a colour system that is “powerful, fresh, young and emotional, with a prominent role for the paper’s traditional red.”

A key focus while designing the new newspaper layout was ensuring that distinctive characters of all The Standard’s publications were easily recognisable, thus strengthening the brand.

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“Readers will be taken through a journey of the publication’s clear, factual stories. Our main aim as a media organisation is to prepare ourselves for new consumer habits. The new design has a fresher, more contemporary feel,” said Standard Group Chief Executive Officer Orlando Lyomu.

“The relaunch of the newspaper is part of the Standard Group’s transformation agenda that has been in place for the past two years. It is meant to bring a renewal and align the newspaper with the habits of our audiences, who are more inclined to the digital space nowadays,” said Ochieng Rapuro, the group’s Editor-in-Chief.

The new fonts are easy on the eye and the white spaces make the paper “more breathable”.

The Editor-in-Chief added that the media house’s brands, from TV to radio and across print are strong, with a loyal readership and audience.

“All these brands have their listeners and their specific position in the market ... that is why you will find heavy use of clear imagery - because people are now drawn to pictures, videos and graphics,” said Rapuro.

He added that the redesign of the newspaper places it in line with current market realities, while making it sustainable. The Standard was last redesigned in 2017.

John Bundotich, the Editor, Print Daily, said months of rethinking the design birthed a new layout with a holistic delivery approach across the group’s digital and broadcast platforms.

“We will tell the story behind the news, explaining why it happened and what it means. Our investigative and agenda-setting stories will bring to sharp focus the issues facing the country, and our watchdog role will keep the authorities in check,” he said.

“Through infographics and detailed imagery, the new design will compete effectively with what is offered in the digital space,” said Deputy Chief Graphic Designer Daniel Weloba.

“The stories are lifted off the page by a modern, trendy design that employs infographics, and there is a great mix of colour that reinstates and amplifies the seriousness and the modern; contrast and freshness, legibility and accessibility,” said Andrew Kipkemboi, the Partnerships and Special Projects Editor and Redesign Project Co-ordinator.

The relaunch of the newspaper comes just over a month after the Standard Group relocated to a state-of-the-art, converged newsroom.

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