Election Coverage – St. Louis and St. Paul

by jasonbrynsvold

My first critique was of this morning’s St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

Overall, I’m not a fan of the typefaces and fonts that the Post-Dipatch uses, but that’s not incredibly important to expand on in a single critique.

The big news of the day was the Missouri primary, even though it didn’t count for any delegates. The first thing that stands out to me in their primary centerpiece, specifically the photo. It isn’t a particularly impressive piece of art, but it does grab my attention, which is good. It’s tough to get engaging photos of political candidates.

The infoboxes showing results from all three states that held primaries or caucuses are nice and informative, but not visually appealing at all. I feel like more could have been done to bring attention to them, since it shows that Santorum did well on Tuesday.

The clip art on the right side is pretty lame and they could do a lot more with the weather at the bottom of the page. Weather is a visual thing, so there should definitely be some kind of imagery there. Also, the photo on the bottom-right story bleeds into the page, which is quite distracting.

Finally, what is going on with that random tease halfway down the first column? It unnecessarily breaks up that column and has no place there. Put it at the top of the page, if anything.

Overall, the page isn’t very impressive and I feel like there is a lot that could be done to improve it. The art is questionable at best and the story hierarchy isn’t too clear.

I promise I’m not usually this negative.

My second critique of the day was St. Paul’s Pioneer Press.

The first impression I have of this page is a positive one. The main headline is clever and makes me want to read the story. The image to go along with the story is also good, but I’m a sucker for photos with American motifs. Still, it is composed well and is better than just a stock photo of a politician. Good thinking out of the box.

The stats above the first story that show what percentage each candidate got is informative and visually appealing while not being too overwhelming. The most important part of an election is the numbers, so it’s good to see that on top of the headline.

I’m a fan of the “drumroll please” tease at the top of the page, but the other tease to the right of it isn’t dominating enough to earn my attention. Honestly, it looks just like another ad.

Other than the first headline, the hierarchy isn’t very apparent among the other stories. I can’t tell which one is the most important and which order I should read the stories in.

Also, besides the centerpiece, there are 4 other stories on the page. I just find it a little busy and there is too much trapped white space because of all the separation in between the stories. It just doesn’t feel very complete.

To fix that, they could get rid of the story under the centerpiece, bring the photo of the dolphin up and make it larger and just make that story take up the space of the story above it and the space it is in now. If you think the gay marriage story is too important to bump off the front, just move it in the place of the SUV story.

Overall, solid page that is a bit cluttered, but is visually appealing for the most part.