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What would you do?

Discussion in 'Design Discussion' started by Gomer, Sep 28, 2007.

  1. Gomer

    Gomer Active Member

    So, my paper is going through a redesign. I've been asked to put together some samples of things I like and elements we should consider.

    - To start with, we're a small paper in a small city. About 15,000 circ., trading area of around 100,000 people.

    - We don't have much staff, so design ideas which are complicated and take a lot of time to do every day are not going to work.

    - There's only two or three sections a day, between 10 and 16 pages a section, so I've never thought a lot of teasers made sense. We scrapped a big A1 rail a year ago in part because of that reason.

    - Oh, and one last thing. Our publisher is dead-set AGAINST turns. We're really hoping to convince him otherwise for section fronts.

    - And yes, I'm just a sports editor, so I'm also looking for ideas that you think work well in a small, three-to-four page sports section (that starts in the middle of the A section, by the way...entertainment is B section... it's a press restriction thing apparently).

    Help! Any thoughts - on this thread or via PM - would be much appreciated.
  2. ColbertNation

    ColbertNation Member

    I don't know what you had before, but No. 1 on my list would be to make sure there isn't a left rail. I've had one at my last two papers, and it never ceases to get in my way. Strip your refers and promos across the bottom. It looks better, and it gives you a lot more latitude with your designs.
  3. Fisch

    Fisch Member

    If you're short on staff, template as much as you can. Don't waste your time designing the exact same thing every day if it doesn't need to change. This will free you up to actually design the things that need to be designed.

    Two questions:
    1. What do you mean "turns?" I've never heard that word used at a newspaper. I've probably called it something else.
    2. Are you looking for specific ideas of things you can add to the section, or more interested in how to package things better?
  4. Rusty Shackleford

    Rusty Shackleford Active Member

    Amen to that. My SE decided in the last couple of months that we needed one, and ever since our pages have looked horrible. We haven't had one good design since he implemented that thing. But he thinks its wonderful, so it's not going anywhere.
  5. Gomer

    Gomer Active Member

    Thanks for the feedback folks...

    To answer a few questions, a turn to me is just a carryover of a story from one page to another. As in, our publisher wants the WHOLE STORY on A1. At the moment we're only able to fit two or three stories on our front page.

    I'm looking for any element or style (rules or no rules? tips for how to use fonts? spacing requirements?) that you would implement if you were doing a redesign.

    And I totally agree with losing the rail. We used to have one and finally convinced the boss to ditch it. Right now our only refers are contained in a line of text below the masthead. Personally I'm interested in skyboxes but I don't think the people who lay out A1 are comfortable with doing cutouts, so I'm not sure what to suggest for them.

    Oh, and the early A1 template I have includes 'today's weather' an index and the barcode as a strip of information along the bottom of the page. I've checked out newseum.org and really like the papers that do it that way.
  6. ColbertNation

    ColbertNation Member

    Ahh, jumps. We try to not jump when at all possible, but that's more of a logistical issue, since it bogs down our pages.
    I have since learned that there are lots of ways to get elements on the front that aren't whole stories. Stand-alone photos are always good, especially for local stuff -- if we can get a photog to a game, even if we can't staff it, I'm a fan of putting that on the front. You can also go with info boxes with some kind of a graphic (I'm thinking of making one for the playoffs because there's no way to justify putting that much MLB on a section front).
    Keep it simple. Even if you know what you're doing -- and I'll assume you do -- you have to make sure that someone else can put together your section front when you're not there.
  7. wickedwritah

    wickedwritah Guest

    Colbert, while I agree with you that jumps can bog the page down, I don't have a problem with a five-story front, when warranted. And if four of those stories jump, that's fine, too.
  8. ColbertNation

    ColbertNation Member

    Don't get me wrong ... I prefer to jump stories. When I said it bogs down our pages, I was referring to our computers. It just makes everything go so much slower and is almost not worth the hassle of jumping stories. But if it's a busy news day, then you don't really have a choice. I ended up jumping four of the five stories I had on my front the other day.
  9. TheHandOfGod

    TheHandOfGod New Member

    No jumps? That's brutal!
  10. fremont

    fremont Member

    Do you use Quark? The way I did this without using the jump function (I am speculating that's what's slowing down your systems) was to create a second text box for the jump portion of the story, link the boxes, then cut and paste the jump portion into the jump hole on whatever page. There's no "jump" as far as Quark is concerned, but the end result would be the same. I did this all the time working on a barely functional machine running a really outdated version of Quark.

    That's unfathomable.

    As for the left rail - they surely got trendy for awhile and for years I was saddled with one when building pages; they really do limit your design options and give things a rather *cookie-cutter* look IMO. Maybe there are people who like that, I don't know.
  11. forever_town

    forever_town Active Member

    See, I was considering killing my left rail and going to a bottom refer for that reason. The production manager talked me out of doing it because he said the designs I do now (even with a limited four column layout forced on me by having a rail) are visually attractive and draw people in. He contrasted it with a copy of a previous year's version of our paper that had a bottom refer and blasted that paper's look.
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