Gold Stars for …
… the front page art shot by Nathan. It’s very compelling and a powerful piece. Nice attention-getter! * However, we need to correct the tag that credits Bethany for the shot.
… the photo page! Page 10 is a wonderful way to mark the end of the semester goings on that may not merit their own story, but add a wonderful slice-of-life aspect to the news. These kinds of pages are always well-read by the audience. They love to see their own lives and activities reflected in our paper. Excellent idea from the eds, and excellent shots by Bethany and Anna!
… front page design! It’s nice to see the color screen make a reappearance. It really adds weight and drama to the page. It’s a wonderful way to draw the eye and add some color!
Watch out for …
… late headlines. The earthquake headline is a next-day headline on a 3-day-old story. Instead of announcing the quake that everyone’s already heard about or felt, why not a headline that picks up in the present moment: “Professor says a major quake unlikely” or “Students recall shaking awake Friday”. Also, why do we refer to “more coverage” on page 5, when we only have a story jump? There is no “more coverage.”
… repetitiveness through design. The story on the student going to the Navajo nation to teach will be read in the order of: headline, pull quote, lead, quote. But the pull quote and the first quote are the same. So we’re not giving the reader a steady stream of new info. Instead, pull a quote from the jump, so that readers get a little glimpse of what’s ahead and keep reading, rather than beating them with the same information twice up front. Also, avoid paraphrasing using the same turn of phrase as the quoted material. For example, saying: leaving more than just her comfort zone. … “It’s scary to leave your comfort zone.” We need to think about how readers’ eyes take in the information, and avoid being repetitive in headlines, subheads, leads, pull quotes, cutlines, etc.
… missing stories. We didn’t have the first football event of the year — a scrimmage this weekend. It was our first chance to see the new coach in action. Also, we still haven’t run the Baumgartner Olympics Hall of Fame story from last week. We need to be comprehensive in our coverage.
… leaving holes in stories. The page 3 stories mention Spring Fest going on “despite the weather,” but then we never say what the weather was like. Not everyone will remember what kind of day it was two days ago. We also are not clear when the New Play Festival took place. The story reads a bit like a preview, but then it seems that it happened last week. Let’s not forget the basics: Who, What, Where, When, Why, and How.
… invading the aisles! We have an info box on page 5 and pictures on pages 3 and 6 that push their way into text columns, overrunning their margins. This is approximately the 187th time I’ve mentioned it, designers. It makes an awkward path for the reader and it screws up the page design. It becomes a distraction and mars the symmetry of the page elements.
… leaving out the visual. We had no sports photos, in spite of the mild weather and outdoor sports this weekend. We have to plan ahead to assign photos for events; if we had shots we didn’t use, we should cut stories down to allow for some visual page element.
What if …
… we close out the semester with attention to things that need updating? It’s a nice time to get things on the record before the summer break. The status of the presidential search, the new football coach, the rec center progress, the campus bus routes, changes in next year’s curriculum, campus improvements, etc. — all are topics that can be summed up or updated before we break, giving our readers a final thought and some perspective before the long break. Go through the past academic year with attention to any story that might have fallen through and could be revisited.