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Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by Mr. X, Jun 15, 2006.

  1. DyePack

    DyePack New Member

    We have a winner.

    No one is going to throw anyone out on their ass for designing and not editing. As long as the paper is getting ground out and pushed out the door, no one is going to say anything.
  2. PCLoadLetter

    PCLoadLetter Well-Known Member

    Funny - as I was reading this thread, my wife pointed out a cutline on the local paper's website tonight:

    "Carp covers a car that burst into flames after it was hit by an SUV, police said."

    That would be one hell of a fish. (It looks more like a tarp in the photo.)
  3. Stupid

    Stupid Member

    I think four people, each of whom can design, lay out, write and edit are better than four specialists.

    I think my background in publishing, marketing, graphic design and production helped me develop several skills. Or maybe it was just working for small companies in which everyone had to do each other's work from time to time.

    From what I have gathered after 21 months in this business is that newspaper design isn't that difficult compared to other types of graphic design. Speed is valued more than originality and trying to re-invent the wheel every day probably isn't going to appeal to readers who lean towards consistency in the daily printed sheets.

    Still, it's nice to have that big bundle of information packaged in easier to digest segments. The true art of newspaper design is delivering the information accurately and cohesively to the reader instead of trying to make an aesthetic statement.
  4. DyePack

    DyePack New Member

    Then a lot of designers are still trying to perfect that art. There are a lot of pages that don't begin to capture the theme accurately. Instead, we get cutouts, big, meaningless numbers and lots and lots of dumb, pointless cliches.
  5. shotglass

    shotglass Guest

    Seriously, what I really don't get is your insistence that you're right and everyone else is wrong. Doesn't it ever occur to you that it's not as black and white as you make it? Don't you allow yourself the possibility of being slightly overstated on this issue?

    Are there abuses in design over copy editing? You bet there are. Criminally so. But is it universal? The world doesn't work like that. Some places, things are done right.

    Outside of that, I give up.
  6. DyePack

    DyePack New Member

    The problem seems awfully widespread to me. The ads for the positions, the prevalence of sites with dollar-sized images of pages, the way the jobs are performed, the large amounts of money spent on design contests and nonprofit design organizations (at least one of which doesn't follow IRS disclosure rules, BTW) -- all of these things point to a philosophy distant from what readers want and way out of control.

    For proof, all I need to do is go to the nearest university. One of the classes hangs its pages in the hallway. A dozen years ago, you'd see the worst design imaginable. The focus was on establishing story priority. The text was clean.

    Today, you can see an obvious difference. The design is much better, although at best it's still only slightly above average, much like the real world. But nearly every page has some sort of typo in a headline or misspelled name or a headline that's allowed to just end wherever it ends, regardless of specs.

    This is the philosophy students are taking to their jobs -- It doesn't matter if the text is right. All that matters is how the page looks.

    I think it's safe to say those people are going to be shitty copy editors, probably for most of their careers.
  7. Starman

    Starman Well-Known Member

  8. wickedwritah

    wickedwritah Guest

    As a copy editor, I believe DyePack is right on this one -- the line editing nowadays is pretty damn careless.

    Well, actually, it usually starts further down the line with the reporter, but the line editors just push it through.

    This especially is a problem on most sports desk, where often the line editor and copy editor are one in the same. That's something I have a problem with.
  9. shotglass

    shotglass Guest

    Very well-stated. I'd be crazy to disagree with a thing you said there.

    All of which puts the onus on us to tell the young people coming in that, no, it's NOT OK to have a picture-pretty page with 10 typos.

    But that's going to bring me back to the topic of this thread -- mistakes.

    Here is why the loss of line editing is so harmful to newspapers today. This is going to sound familiar, I think.

    Sometime last year, I wrote a headline on the Detroit-Charlotte game with the score tag: Pistons 87, Hornets 76.

    I would have written that score tag that way 80 straight times. It was the connection I made with the NBA and Charlotte -- that they were the Charlotte Hornets, now and forever.

    DP, understand part of my point here ... the error was not made because I spent more time on design than editing. It was not made because I was playing online games instead of spending another five minutes on that story. It was made because my brain was wired that way on that particular subject.

    If that page goes through four people, somebody catches it (unless you have the copy editors who catch a misplaced comma in the 17th graf and miss the headline).

    That page went through one person -- me. Voila. Error in print.
  10. wickedwritah

    wickedwritah Guest

    Shot, are you saying no one at least looked at a proof?

    Not trying to rip you or your shop, you know, but I have a problem with that.
  11. sportschick

    sportschick Active Member

    It happens, sadly. Not at my current paper, but I had several nights where I was by myself (in news) at my last rag. I had issues with it, and it would be one major reason I left.
  12. shotglass

    shotglass Guest

    It does happen. You have a three-man desk on a light night, and you pull a page proof at 10 p.m., look at the other two people and they say, "I'm up to my ears here." It's left to you to proof yourself.
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