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UNBELIEVEABLE!! (her words, not ours)

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by spikechiquet, Oct 19, 2009.

  1. spikechiquet

    spikechiquet Well-Known Member

    Seriously, how hard is it to understand design?


    Unbelievable!! Picture this scene: It is a cold Fri. night you are a family, friend and/or fan of Podunk football. A win tonight would clinch and outright claim for the conference football championship. The team and fans have suffered for many years…hoping for greatness and time and time again falling short. This year it is different there is a REAL chance for conference superiority! As the final seconds of the clock tick down, you are shaken out of history’s fog of disappointment to realize that, YES, indeed the 2009 Podunk Shitkickers football team as beaten county rival We Are High 41 – 13!! Not only is it a victory over We Are but this victory by our small but determined team of players have afforded them the right to proclaim what no other Podunk football team has ever been able to do: Conference Football Champions!! Excitement, euphoria, elation!!!

    Now, fast forward several hours later, every player and fan alike are anxiously awaiting their local newspaper to relive the awesome spectacle that was last night’s victory. Without a doubt, this has to be leading, front page, above the fold sports news story in Podunk County. But, alas!! I would not be surprised to learn that an audible scream was heard from all corners of the southern part of the county: “UNBELIEVEABLE!!”. How could North Podunk’s LOSS rank “above” Podunk’s CONFERENCE CHAMPIONSHIP? Half of a picture above the fold with the other half of the picture below with the accompanying story…again, unbelieveable!

    Podunk Press, you really dropped the ball on this one!!

    Um, lady...you know that huge photo and headline in the middle of the paper? That's called a centerpiece! PODUNK WAS THE STORY.

  2. sportsguydave

    sportsguydave Active Member

    I hear you, spike. To some people, it's not the main story unless it's 1-1 at at the top of the section front.

    The best way to deal with these folks is to listen to them, smile, thank them for their input and send them on their way. You're never going to please everyone in this business.
  3. spnited

    spnited Active Member

    Unbelievable is right, spike... that you are delusional enough to think that readers understand the concept of "centerpiece" and newspaper design. They all think the most important story should just be at the top of the page.

    Get over it.
  4. Ace

    Ace Well-Known Member

    Yeah. If you strip Podunk Central and give Podunk North the centerpiece, the Podunk North people complain that Central was above them.

    If you do it the other way, they complain that Central got the bigger photo.

  5. BTExpress

    BTExpress Well-Known Member

    Only one word to describe a scene like that: UNBELIEVABLE!!
  6. spikechiquet

    spikechiquet Well-Known Member

    It would be great if "everyone" was waiting on baited breath for what we write. Wait, they do, it's just at www.localnewspaper.com. Then when the story isn't posted in full, they bitch about that as well! :)

    A semi-serious question though: If we did everything the way people perceive that we should, how would a newspaper look? Would obits be on 1A and band pics on 1B? LOL
  7. spnited

    spnited Active Member

    Absolutely not.
    How can you put dead people ahead of my kid's band picture?
  8. BTExpress

    BTExpress Well-Known Member

    You only cover us when we die!
  9. Baron Scicluna

    Baron Scicluna Well-Known Member

    Now that's unbelievable.
  10. SoCalDude

    SoCalDude Active Member

    We get complaints all the time from readers who think the story stripped across the top with a smallish photo and 48-pt hed is more important than the centerpiece, which has the bigger photo and a 70-pt. hed.
    So many, in fact, that maybe we're wrong. Maybe this design template is wrong. The biggest story should be at the top.
    I don't know. Just throwing that out. If it confuses the readers, why do we keep doing it?
  11. pressmurphy

    pressmurphy Member

    It's a design and execution flaw more often than we care to admit.

    I worked at a paper that relied on the strip-over-the-centerpiece formula entirely too much on A-1, B-1 and the sports front, with the CPs almost always (horribly over-planned and over-edited) features.

    Do that to the reader often enough and they get trained to expect that the day's real news is always either stripped across cthe top or in the column next to the CP.
  12. flexmaster33

    flexmaster33 Active Member

    I think most readers get it...they see the package deal in the center of the paper and understand that's the big story...you just get a few who are already pissed off and just looking for something to cry about.

    I'd just politely explain that you reserve the center of the paper for the biggest story and point out that the photo is larger in that spot, the story is longer, etc.

    Some people that are out of the loop are still operating under assumptions that are 20 years outdated.
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