You oughta be in pictures for…
… a generally newsy and strong paper today! We had news on sports, election, family day, Trustees — all on the front! Lots of variety to get readers into the paper. Nice selections, editors!
… triple-threat Trever Fehrenbach! The photographer/reporter/columnist is unstoppable! His front page shot is action-packed. His story lead is dramatic and concise. His verbs are kinetic — players spun and lobbed a floating pass, and the ball sailed. Great writing.
… solid photos from Amanda Mayer! Although new to our photo desk, Amanda has made a strong showing in our last few issues. Her shots have included innovative perspectives, as with today’s Family Day shots, and lovely composition, as with the symphony shots today. Welcome and keep up the good work!
… showing leads!!! Brittany Parrett introduces us to Qwion Booker and his ice cream spoon. Very visual and engaging! Great job!
Watch out for…
… hiding good stuff below the fold. In our newsstands, all that shows is the football story and promos for volleyball and symphony. But we have much broader-interest stories about family day, the election and Trustees taking up enrollment, etc. that are hidden below the fold. The more general-interest stories draw in a broader range of readers, and we should take advantage of that by getting some mention of them visible in the newsstand.
… packaging and refers. We needed to at least refer the page 7 story on the presidential debate from the front page piece on Penn campaigning for Obama.
… spacing of page elements. The topical headers such asa “Campus,” “Administration” and “Sports” need to be anchored to the stories and photos they describe. We’ve been floating them sort of halfway between stories, or in some cases, closer to an unrelated story, so that it’s not apparent what they’re attached to. Get these headers within a pica of the story they belong to.
… we turn more of our attention to issues and follow-ups. I tallied up the past five issues, since Sept. 17, and found that we had at least 45 event-based stories (including sports) and just 10 of everything else (not including the Op-Ed page). I defined “everything else” as being feature stories, issue-based stories and follow-ups. Just 10 – or 18 percent! Let’s step back and get a big-picture view of some of these “events” we’re covering.
What can we do to follow-up on some the story ideas mentioned in meetings, for example? What are the bigger issues at stake for our students in the election? What are some national events (the Wall Street bailout, for example) that we can localize to our own campus?
Although covering events is a big part of our job, from readers’ perspective, if they didn’t want to attend an event, they probably don’t want to read about it, either. Those who did attend the event already know what happened. So we tend to get less interest in these types of stories than if we provide some news analysis or break some news that impacts their lives.
Could we shoot for 35 percent of our coverage being issue-related, features or follow-ups? I know it’s easier and faster just to show up to an event and grab some description and quotes. Issue stories take a bit more time, planning and research. But the good news is, reporters and photogs can work on them at more flexible times. These stories tend to be more fun to report. And the payoff, in terms of reader interest and public service, is much greater than with event stories.
What do you think?