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1968 or 1988? Hard to tell the difference.

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by Boomer7, Feb 18, 2008.

  1. Boomer7

    Boomer7 Active Member

    Check out these front pages from the Calgary Herald during the '88 Olympics. It's amazing how much design has progressed since then, though I suspect our Albertan friends were a bit behind the curve even then.

  2. markvid

    markvid Guest

    Honestly, Boomer, I'd have to see more than a photocopy to judge.
  3. Boomer7

    Boomer7 Active Member

    Even if those pictures were in the brightest, boldest colors known to man, the pages would still be pretty mediocre.
  4. wickedwritah

    wickedwritah Guest

    Those old-school fonts just suck.
  5. Football_Bat

    Football_Bat Well-Known Member

    Design changed much greater between 1988 and 1998 than it did the 20 years before. I blame USA Today.
  6. zebracoy

    zebracoy Guest

    Yes, but I don't know if that's such a bad thing. At least, it isn't to me.
  7. Yeah, except now that paper's design is about as plain, boring and, at times, difficult to read. What happened there? Whose idea was it to have a proportional font for agate?
  8. Frank_Ridgeway

    Frank_Ridgeway Well-Known Member

    A paper I worked on earlier in the '80s looked a lot like that. I knew it was ugly, I'd done layout at a better-looking paper. But we couldn't do anything about the fonts, and there was the matter of not wanting to design something that was beyond the composing room's ability to execute. As you can see by some of the spacing issues on the Calgary page, even what should have been a clean, simple page could come out looking pretty bad, and if the wrong pasteup person got hold of something more complex, it could easily take on that ransom-note aura. At some point you had to think like the football coach who learned not to devise offensive schemes beyond his players' intelligence and physical ability -- the goal is to win, not to indulge yourself for the sake of ego.

    I'd give good odds that most major dailies of that era were better-edited than the current version. It's not really a matter of staffing in pure numbers -- some of the desks I worked on in the 1980s were smaller than what you'd see now -- but with pagination, the emphasis shifted to design and production. A word person ran a sports desk a lot more often than you'd see today. The prettier pages you see today don't mean the newspapers have gotten better, just better-looking.
  9. wickedwritah

    wickedwritah Guest

    Frank, it's interesting that you bring up the composing-room angle.

    Back in those days, how many composing room guys were "skilled"? What set apart a "skilled" composing-room finisher from a run-of-the-mill guy?
  10. FileNotFound

    FileNotFound Well-Known Member

    A skilled compositor could absolutely save your ass on deadline. They knew all the shortcuts to make up for you sending that type out a few minutes late and a few picas off spec. If you kept him/her on your side, you were golden. If you pissed him/her off, you were toast.
  11. Frank_Ridgeway

    Frank_Ridgeway Well-Known Member

    That, and it helped if they hadn't been drinking.

    There was a Bogart movie called Dark Passage in which Bogart plays an escaped convict who has plastic surgery on his face, and just before he goes under the doc says if he didn't like him, he could make him "look like a monkey." It keeps repeating in Bogart's mind while he's under. That was what a composing room was like, a bad one. A good one, well, it was like FNF says. A great pasteup guy could also do some reasonably good cutout jobs on a photo.
  12. slappy4428

    slappy4428 Active Member

    I blame soccer.
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