Ready For An Upgraded New York Times (and Native Ads)?

nytThe New York Times‘ long-awaited redesign will grace our computers next week, complete with updated typography and responsive design.

Wednesday, Jan. 8 will also mark a shift in The Grey Lady’s advertising model, as the new and improved design allows for the Times to display sponsored editorial content, or “native ads.”

NYT Publisher Arthur Sulzberger Jr. told staffers in a Dec. 19 memo that the move to paid editorial was mandatory for the paper to sustain itself digitally and noted that designers and NYT editors were working to ensure no confusion between sponsored content and reported news. Announced to start appearing this month, Sulzberger said advertorial will feature a “distinctive color bar, the words “Paid Post,” the relevant company logo, a different typeface and other design cues to let readers know exactly what they are looking at.”

I’m only looking forward to one of these changes, and that’s the niftier design. (Apparently 2014 might also be the year of responsive web design). I’m disappointed that the Times, oft-known as the lofty heights of newspaper journalism, will join the host of publishers resorting to publishing advertorial content created by their own staff members (not reporters — advertising staff — but still).

The new sponsored content will make its debut on the Times‘ Web product first, then shift to mobile, and every aspect of Times content including data/chart visuals and video will also take on the form of native advertising when the paper heads in a new direction for ad revenue.

All I can say is, at least I can read these native ads on a prettier-designed screen. There is, at least, always that.