Well, I’m going to use these final critiques to try and point out some things I learned this semester and how I could use those things to improve the two pages I’m going to be looking at.
First page (Dallas Morning News):
Click for PDF: TX_DMN
The things I notice most here are the lack of white space in the centerpiece and the unusual headline hierarchy.
While the centerpiece doesn’t look feature-y, it could still use some space around it to show that it is different than all of the other news stories and is more long form. The centerpiece itself also has a lot of other problems, starting with the overline on the photo that really isn’t that interesting. Which headline am I supposed to look at first? The one on top or the one that is more bold below the photo? I say pick one and go with it.
The headline hierarchy on the rest of the page is pretty questionable too. If you are going to strip a story across the top, it is probably pretty important. So why make the story below it on the right have a MUCH larger headline? I would understand if it was like 2 or 4 points, but this is a 10 to 15 point difference, which is a little ridiculous.
Being from Dallas, I know that the DMN runs really shallow stories, like the two downpage and the news lead strip at the top, so this is not unusual to see, but I don’t like it. Why put only 3 inches of a story on the front page? If it’s important enough to go there, the story start should be longer.
I do like the labels on every story (although those can be overused) and I like the rules between the stories. Overall, it’s a not very appealing page. A lot more could have been done.
Second page (Fort Worth Star-Telegram):
Click for PDF: TX_FWST
Wow. The first thing that stands out is the unbelievable amount of white space on both sides of the supertease. I am not a fan at all. Since the supertease takes up so much space, the editors were only able to budget 3 stories for the front, which is not good at all. They’ve got to be able to stretch that picture out and decrease the depth of the banner at the top. I know Yu Darvish is awesome, but come on.
In the centerpiece, the secondary photo cuts up the two legs of type, which I would consider a cardinal sin. A simple fix would be to bump the photo to the right and just have two normal columns of type.
The hierarchy is good after I move away from the supertease, as I move from the news lead easily to the centerpiece, where I stay for a while, then I look to the left hand column. I appreciate that a lot now, since it is not easy to do, especially with hard headline specs.
Overall, the balance of the page is good. The weight of the centerpiece is appropriate and it is given a fine amount of breathing room on the page. The photo is large and it is visually appealing. With the exception of the supertease, this page is better than the DMN.