The top of the front page of Republika newspaper’s Oct 8, 2015 edition
The current haze crisis is on course to be the worst in history, as it continues to choke a huge portion of Southeast Asia in an expanding cloud of toxic smoke. But many people in Indonesia, including Jakarta, are not affected by the haze and thus don’t realize how much of an impact it is having on the region, especially certain parts of Indonesia.
To help Indonesians understand just how bad the haze is, Jakarta-based newspaper Republika chose to haze out their front page today in a bold symbolic design choice.
The small caption at the bottom says, “Saat tertutup asap, semua berita menjadi sulit dibaca” (“When covered with smoke, all the news becomes difficult to read“). The headline near the bottom of the page, above the picture of the boy on his bike covering his mouth, reads: “Student Victims of Haze Forced to Go to School”.
It’s an inspired editorial and design decision that shows just how much power print newspaper can still have. At a time when some local newspapers are putting all of their resources into their websites, allowing their print editions to become ugly and broken,* Republika shows there is a different path. We salute them!
*Just to clarify, we think the journalists at the Jakarta Globe are doing some excellent work. That comment is specifically directed at the new design of the print edition of JG – a print newspaper that does not include complete stories, but instead fits snippets of web stories into a template and then gives the readers a url to follow in order to read the rest of the story, is fundamentally broken.