News Design

J4500/7500 Advanced Editing and News Design – Spring 2012

Bullying and a perfect game

by kbrynsvold

This is a special front for the Sioux City Journal. There was a suicide recently near Sioux City, and this is the paper’s response: a full front page dedicated to an editorial about stopping bullying. I really like the design, especially for the topic it is covering. This doesn’t need to be colorful or fun or designed with any real ‘cool’ features. It just needs to be what it is. The headline is powerful. I think it takes up a lot of space, but that’s okay because it says something important. The two-column look is good, even though it makes each column pretty wide. I think from far away, it looks great, and it’s still readable up close.

The black-and-white look is good for this topic because it gives a “dark vs. light” feel to the story. It’s also a classic look for an issue that has been a problem for a long time.

A perfect game is a rare thing, as you might guess. Philip Humber, a pretty unknown pitcher, threw the 21st in baseball history Saturday for the White Sox vs. the Mariners. This doubletruck in the Chicago Tribune tells the story of the perfect game in a great way. The infographic that spreads across the top of the doubletruck shows where Humber threw all of his pitches to each of the 27 batters he faced. As a baseball fan, I’d spend a lot of time analyzing that information in the way it is presented. Very cool. Other than that, the page is pretty simple. I like the content on the page, which is what this page should really be about. It’s not all about design here. Something happened, and they told the story in the correct way at the Chicago Tribune.

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Civil War pages

by kbrynsvold

A famous battle in the Civil War — the Battle of the Ironclads — happened 150 years ago today/tomorrow. The Virginian-Pilot and the Daily-Press, among other papers in the east Virginia area, commemorated the event. I decided to look at the jump pages, not the fronts, because they were a tad more interesting/feature-y.

Virginian-Pilot

This is pretty awesome. I like maps in general, so I could really spend a lot of time with this page. The choice of typography, a real old-school cursive type, is perfect for this story. I’m sure this isn’t in the Pilot’s everyday font selection, but that doesn’t matter. It works for a 150-year-old story. I love it. The key for the map is perfect and really illustrates the maps in a simple way. The teal color they chose for the main border color is a good map color. It makes me think of the sea, which is where this battle took place.

One thing that kind of irks me is the way the ‘f’ in ‘of’ on the second part of the headline surprints on the map. This is the only place it happens on the page. If they wanted to go for that look, which would be fine by me, they should have done it in more than one place. By doing it in just one place, ever so slightly, it becomes distracting instead of endearing.

Daily-Press

This is an example of a much more straightforward jump page for this type of story. But even as it is straightforward, it is more cluttered and busy than the Virginian-Pilot’s. That’s because the Pilot’s interesting idea was executed in a simple way. This normal news page from the Daily-Press has too many photos/illustrations without choosing a dominant one. I suppose the graphic on the left page could be considered the dominant one, but it just doesn’t command my attention. That could be because of all the white space in the graphic. I think if the graphic had a different background color, it would bring all the separate elements of the graphic (I count 8 or so) together into one package.

These pages just kind of makes me not like this newspaper at all. They had a lot of time to work on this, I’m assuming, and it looks like something that you’d come up with on deadline without much thought.

I think this package would have worked a lot better if there wasn’t half a page of ads. It kind of muddies up the special thing I’m assuming this is supposed to be.

Minnesota caucus coverage

by kbrynsvold

Minneapolis Star-Tribune
I enjoyed the centerpiece package the Star-Tribune did for multiple reasons. The main headline dominates the page; it immediately grabs your attention, and it is well written. The three-column design below the main photo is organized well. The rail down the middle with the photo of Ron Paul is informative and organized. It tells me all the main information I need to know about Tuesday’s primaries/caucuses, in Minnesota and across the country.

One problem with the centerpiece package is the main story doesn’t have a deck. We’re just supposed to know that it is the story that goes with the headline above the photo. I’d like to see a t-deck there. Another small problem is the lack of space between the two stories and rail in the centerpiece and the “For the latest from the caucuses…” More white space would help that tease to online stand out a little better.

Otherwise, a pretty standard page. The downpage photo is put in a good place to help bring some color to the right side of the page. Personally, I don’t mind side-saddle floorboards (in this case, I guess a wallboard).

St. Paul Pioneer Press

The Pioneer Press took a different approach to the front page. I don’t like the lead photo at all. The headline speaks about Santorum, but the photo is just of an American flag in front of a crowded auditorium. However, I do like that they put the percentages on top, leading with Santorum bolded with the other candidates faded out.

Five stories on the front is too crowded, especially with big news like the caucus results. With the four non-centerpiece headlines, I can’t tell which one is bigger than the other. They seem to look exactly the same. I don’t know where to look after the centerpiece. The photo draws me downpage to the dolphin story, while the placement draws me to the nuclear plant story up top.

The skybox is a bit clunky, overall, but that’s just the template and my personal preference. Having a coupon above the fold on the front page is really tacky.