Globe and Mail to tap into online data to help reshape daily newspaper

The Globe and Mail is putting more faith in algorithms as part of a newspaper redesign that’s influenced by what’s trending on its website.

A print revamp that launches Dec. 1 will incorporate news and topics that already have a proven track record with readers online, publisher Phillip Crawley said in an interview Tuesday.

Editors will ultimately decide which stories land in the paper, but their choices will be informed by what the Globe’s internal tracking systems have tabulated online.

“It makes you much more confident about knowing what people actually care about,” Crawley said.

“Instinct of an experienced editor … can’t ever be substituted, but when you’ve got data which constantly feeds and gives you great clarity, there will be great surprises.”

It’s part of a larger overhaul of the Globe’s newspaper that will see its weekday sections reduced to two: News and Report on Business. Stories from Sports will appear in Report on Business while Life and Arts will be folded into the News section.

The changes won’t affect the number of arts and sports stories the Globe publishes, Crawley said, but it will extend deadlines to 10 p.m. ET, which could help late-developing stories and theatre reviews sneak into the paper.

“There’s no less space. There’s no less content,” he said. “We’re not actually aiming to cut what we regard as the key content.”

There will be a stronger focus, however, on pieces by Globe writers, rather than freelancers and wire copy, Crawley said.

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