Monday, April 27, 2009

Welt am Sonntag

Front pages of Welt am Sonntag





Top to bottom: April 26, 2009; April 19, 2009; March 1, 2009


Welt am Sonntag is a weekly published in Berlin, Germany with a circulation of 400,000. The design of this paper most closely resembles layouts of U.S. newspapers. The font and the lack of white space reminds me of the Wall St. Journal. Still, Welt am Sonntag uses many more graphic and colorful elements in its paper. The teasers at the top of the page also resemble teasers of our national papers, which have cutout images that may overlap the teaser headlines. Colored font like we've seen in the other European papers is not used in this paper.


After browsing back issues of Welt am Sonntag, I came across an unusual layout that I haven't seen in any of the other papers.



The April 5th, 2009 paper started out with this. Thinking it was some type of lead-in to a story, I flipped the page to find this:



An ad for a car. So, not that unusual seeing an ad as the first page of a paper because the real front page with the day's/week's headlines are typically found after the ad. Instead, Welt am Sonntag forfeited a front page for this week and went right to this spread after the ad:



Although there is still a contents section on the bottom left, I thought it was weird to not have a traditional front page. I'm sure the three-page ad was quite pricey, and it gave the paper some more revenue, but was it enough to forgo Welt am Sonntag's traditional front page? We talked in lecture about how advertising departments at papers usually have the upper-hand because without any revenue, there really is no way to publish what the reporters have written. I'm sure ad agencies understand the importance of news content to the paper because it affects who will actually read the paper, and therefore come across their ads. Hopefully these agencies will not
try to take too much control of the paper even if they are the main ones helping produce it...

Anyway, I've also noticed that this German paper frequently uses layouts that has a scrapbook-y feel. By that, I mean many of the pictures used in certain layouts are strewn across the page. Look at the layout above. The pictures on the right page are laid out in a liberal way. The white border of the photos also add to this scrapbook feel of the paper. Here is another example from the March 15, 2009 issue:



I can't decide if using this type of layout for photos works with the paper. It contrasts with the very even columns of text, but I don't know if it adds any interesting element, or is just another obstacle for the reader to overcome when attempting to read the story. An even greater obstacle for the reader is if the text itself were tilted, as seen in this layout from the same issue:


The right page uses an interesting use of open books to separate each little blurb, but I don't think tilting the text helps the reader. Also, because the books took up so much space, the photos on the pages of the book are quite small. I would have liked to see more of the pictures while also having more room so that the text could also be a bit larger.

Layouts should be appealing, but they should not sacrifice the ease of reading a story.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

The News

Front Pages of The News

Left to right: April 23, 2009; April 25, 2009

The News is a daily publication in Mexico City, Mexico. Compared to the other winners of SND.org's "World's Best-Designed," The News has a small circulation of 10,000. Although it is a small newspapers, the design overall is something you'd see at a larger publication. The tidy trim of the text and good choice in photos help tell the story instead of bogging the reader down with too many graphic elements. Also, the standing heads, or headers throughout the paper are denoted by different colors. The muted tones are a light touch to the paper that adds an appealing visual element.

April 25, 2009

In this section titled "Living," the colors of the headline, subhead and the liftout quote draw out the colors of the photo. Using color in this particular story is appropriate because it is a lighter story as it is part of the "Living" section and not part of the day's hard news headlines. The same holds true for in the "Science" section. The orange/tan hues of the headlines draw from the header while they all complement the color of the horses in the photos.




April 25, 2009

At first glance, this "Opinion & Comment" page looks incomplete because it uses such an unconventional lay-out. There is a large white space nearly in the middle of the page while two different stories are laid out on both sides. The column of white space divides the two articles. Since op-ed pieces usually don't have photos, or are many times accompanied by political cartoons, I enjoy this lay-out of all text. Instead of using photos, text is used as a graphic element. On this page, the pullout quote is used as the graphic, artistic element. Also, the ampersands in the header adds a clean visual element. I also like that color is not used in this layout. Colors evoke emotions. As an opinions page, using shades of black helps distinguish its content. For example, in both the "Living" and "Science" sections of this paper, color is used freely. The stories presented in this fashion are not hard-news stories. Although the voices in the stories of the "Opinions & Comments" page are not necessarily hard-news, they present a new perspective to the reader. This perspective should be presented in a manner that is straightforward and able to stand alone.


Although The News has a small circulation, you'd never guess that judging by their design and lay-outs. I wish my small town paper looked this good.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Expresso

Front pages of Expresso

Left to right: March 28, 2009; March 7, 2009; April 28, 2009

Expresso, a winner of SND.org's "World's Best-Designed," is a weekly publication in Pa├žo de Arcos, Portugal. It has a circulation of 120,000.

For the most part, I didn't find the front pages of Expresso to be very effective. The lay-out is very neat with all the stories and pictures squared off. The headlines use different colored fonts, which I don't think add any functionality to the lay-out. Also, even though the lay-out is very neat and allows three to four stories to be on the page, I dislike how there is only enough room for the lede of a story until it is forced to jump because of a lack of space. When I read the paper, I can honestly count only about a handful of times when I've followed through and jumped to the page with the continuing story. Perhaps Expresso's reason for jumping so many stories from the front page is to make readers flip through the paper. Visually, stories on the front page (especially in the second front page shown) look as if they were cut off on accident because the length of the story is unusually short before it jumps. This is something I'm not used to seeing in U.S. papers.

Other than what I view as awkward jumps on the front page, Expresso does a good job in selecting photos that are very telling, especially in the example below where there are multiple close-ups of this man's face. This allows the reader to see his various facial expressions if they weren't described in the story.


March 28, 2009

But, the bottom of the lay-out has spacing issues. The space between the headline and the start of the story makes it look like there is something missing. Also, the three headlines on the bottom of the spread are all justified differently. It breaks up the amount of story text, but again the white space here makes the page look incomplete.


February 28, 2009
As it appears, this photo illustration is explaining different types of aircrafts. I really like this approach because it uses a lot of creativity. Instead of having a formal chart with each of the nine aircrafts depicted that lists its specs, the planes are placed in their "real" environment, or as they would appear when seen in the sky.


April 28, 2009

Again, the pictures chosen for this story add an interesting element to the lay-out. The string of photos at the bottom create almost a scene-by-scene storyline of its own, which I think helps me feel as if I were present at this event. As for the border, I would like to have seen something less vibrant so that the pictures of the story would have a chance to pop more, seeing that they tell part of the story while the border is merely an artistic element.

If you have a photo that accompanies a story, you don't want to rob its spotlight for a pretty page. Remember, content over design.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Print

The recurring topic of my news-editing class is discussing the death of newspapers/print. Talking about it is depressing. On the bright side, my professor said applications for journalism school is on the rise. Now, I wonder if this is because the bad economy is driving more people to apply to grad schools, or if people want to rush in and help save the printed word.

Anyway, don't forget about me and others who are still here willing to buy the paper.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

A helpful Web site

The Internet, in a sense, is a double-edged sword when it comes to tracking down sources. Keyword searches are helpful, but so many results pop up that I never sift through each and every page, nor would I want to do that. Also, the results may lead you to a page that looks unofficial and unrelated to any big name corporation or institution. When this happens, how do you check the site's credentials?

As we discussed this in lecture, the usual methods, like checking to see if the author's contact is listed or when the page was last updated, were brought up.

A more important technique I learned was about the site's URL domain. I was unaware that people could check domains. I assumed if the domain was .edu, .gov, .org or .net, that everything on the site was good, and for the most part, it is. But, there is a way to further establish a site's credentials at InterNIC.com.

By checking a domain name in InterNIC's "Whois" look-up, you can find out who or what company registered the domain. Sometimes, InterNIC will even list a contact that can be reached about the Web site's content.

I'm excited to add InterNIC into my toolbox of techniques for tracking down sources.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Did I say that?

When journalists quote sources, is it OK to clean them up as long as the meanings aren't changed? It's usually unlikely for a source to say something right in the first interview (I know I'm not as eloquent as I'd like to be, and who knows how I'd sound if I were quoted...ick).

The American Journalism Review has an article on quotes where they interviewed several journalists and editors regarding cleaning up quotes and paraphrasing.

Linda Robertson, sportswriter for the Miami Herald, made a good point. She said there are two sets of rules for journalists when it comes to quotes, which she argued as unfair. She said it's unfair to clean up quotes when trying to portray an ordinary person while leaving quotes uncleaned in attempts to embarrass or negatively portray a public figure.

In my opinion, if the quote sounds bad, awkward, wordy, etc., paraphrase.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Eleftheros Tipos

Eleftheros Tipos is a national daily newspaper in Athens, Greece with a circulation of 86,000. It seems after being awarded "World's Best-Designed Newspaper" by snd.org, Eleftheros Tipos changed their layout. After reviewing the before and after, I think the paper got caught up trying to incorporate too much into a page at one time, and their new layout probably wouldn't have won the award. I'm not sure their original design deserved an award at all...

Left to right: May 2, 2008; May 23, 2008; November 5, 2008

The top images are of the front pages of Eleftheros Tipos that display the layouts that won them snd.org's "World's Best-Designed Newspaper" award. The main images found on the front pages are simple and clean, usually focusing on one main point of the photos. However, the teasers at the top of the page are too cluttered. The images used in the teasers are compelling, but when thrown together, they fight for the reader's attention. For the first two front pages, I can't tell if the article and image on the sidebar have anything to do with the main photo. When I first looked at it, I thought they were separate stories, but on second look, I realize I can't assume that.

Eleftheros Tipos' new design:
Left to Right: April 4, 2009; April 2, 2009; April 1, 2009

The front pages of the new layout is not appealing at all. It looks like someone puked out a rainbow and decided to publish it. OK, too harsh, but I think the overuse of colors, images and text boxes create even more unnecessary clutter than the original layout. All the colors used have equal boldness, so my eyes don't know where to look first.

Inside the original layout (pulled from several issues):


Inside the new layout (pulled from different issues):






The redesign of the cover doesn't note that there was a redesign in layouts throughout the paper. Eleftheros Tipos focuses on using text boxes to section everything off. Although this may help notify readers of a new story, I don't think it works as a whole. Text boxes are supposed to be used for sidebars and supplemental information to the main article. If the main article is in a text box, what do the smaller text boxes stand for?

Also, the text boxes don't allow the paper to form a cohesive structure, especially in the first layout I posted. The first layout has four different stories with four separate picture accompanying each one. This kind of layout looks like a compilation of news stories from separate papers that were pasted onto a page like much like that of a scrapbook.

I do like how Eleftheros Tipos uses red since it is the color of their logo. But, I felt that red was being over-used in attempts to carry this color theme throughout the paper. For example, in the last layout, the subhead is in red text. Although it matches nicely with the red bar on its opposite page, the red color and the big text of the actual headline fight for my attention. I can't tell what's more important.

This is because red and black are both dark colors (well, black is a shade, not a color, but for simplicity we'll just call it a color). Dark colors come forward while light colors recede. Therefore, the newspaper had the right idea by making the background gray so that the headlines and text would pop out, but the placement of red and black text next to each other don't work. The intensity of the two fight for attention on the page.