Monthly Archives: June 2009

Poll: Are contests worth it?

IN RECENT WEEKS, two of my clients received strong recognition for their efforts. The Western Catholic Reporter was named best-designed by the Canadian Church Press. And the Hood County News in Granbury, TX, won General Excellence and Best Page Design from the Texas Press Assn. Both are good newspapers and their design makes me look good, too.

But I know there’s always some question about awards and contests and how they’re run and who the judges are and categories and the like. I’ve judged quite a few contests myself and I understand the difficulties involved in the process.

Nevertheless, I know there are quite a few journalists out there who think that contests are a waste of time, effort and money. Even though they may have won their share of awards, they don’t place much stock in contests.

What are your thoughts? Are contests good for the industry? Do they help your newspaper? Do they make you a better journalist?

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Back to basics

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SOME OF YOU may have noticed that I was using a corner of the banner art on this page to place the “Ed Henninger’s Blog” title. Reason was, I hated the fact that the apostrophe in the label wasn’t really an apostrophe, but the foot mark. So, I decided to do away with the title in the bar at the top and place it in the photo instead. Trouble is, that apparently means the blog is more difficult to find/follow using web search tools and the like.

So…I’m gonna hafta learn to live with that foot mark. I don’t want to call this “The Blog of Ed Henninger” or “The Ed Henninger Blog”—too snooty for my taste. Unless someone comes up with a better idea, it’ll just hafta be “Ed Henninger’s Blog”…with foot mark instead of apostrophe.

Ugh!

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Two first place awards!

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ANOTHER WINNER!  Just got word from Joe Thompson at the Hood County News (Granbury, TX) that the paper won first place for General Excellence and Page Design in the Texas Press Assn. annual contest. The category was semi-weeklies with 4,0001 circulation or greater.

The Hood County News, a Henninger Consulting project, launched its redesign early last year.

Comments from the judges:

1. Hood County News — Clear, concise, yet lively
writing throughout. Well-organized pages, well-organized sections
(such as sports and entertainment). Front page stories go
beyond coverage of government meetings to get to the heart of
important issues. Excellcent photography. Good clean layouts
area reader friendly. Overall an excellent paper.
1. Hood County News — Very clean front with a
dominant photo and good headline weight. Opinion is nice and
airy, with good headline weights. Fun sports page. Great use of
tennis ball in headline and cutout photos. Good readout head
and enlarged first few graphs. The drop cap color is creative but
a little jarring. Life page is really nice. It grabs you instantly
with the photo and headline. The scale text is creative, but package
would be cleaner with some style for both headline words.

GENERAL EXCELLENCE. Well-organized pages, well-organized sections (such as sports and entertainment). Front page stories go beyond coverage of government meetings to get to the heart of important issues. Excellcent photography. Good clean layouts are reader friendly. Overall an excellent paper.

PAGE DESIGN.  Very clean front with a dominant photo and good headline weight. Opinion is nice and airy, with good headline weights. Fun sports page. Great use of tennis ball in headline and cutout photos. Good readout head and enlarged first few graphs. The drop cap color is creative but a little jarring. Life page is really nice. It grabs you instantly with the photo and headline.

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Award-winning pages from the Hood County News

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Want to see your pages here?

ARE YOU INTERESTED…

…in posting your pages on Ed’s blog? I’m thinking it over: creating a separate page here for community papers to submit pages they really like. Yes, there are other sites in the internet where editors can post pages but here’s the difference: this is for community newspapers only.

Post your pages…and help me to define “community newspapers.” OK…that second part could take a while.

If you’re interested, please e-mail me at edh@henningerconsulting.com or leave a comment here!

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Mississippi: A fun workshop!

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THANKS TO LAYNE BRUCE and his staff at Mississippi Press Assn. for the opportunity to present a design workshop to MPA members on Saturday. It was a lively session and offered me the chance to spread the news about community newspaper design and the Francis A. Henninger Grant Program.

Some of those attending offered pdf files of their pages and I believe the evaluations were helpful. Discussion was lively and the give-and-take was fun!

My visit also gave me the chance to chat with Jack Ryan, Publisher of the Enterprise-Journal in McComb. And I met Ronda Rich, an energetic and bright writer. I’m looking forward to getting some tips from Ronda on my next book!

Thanks again, Layne!

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SNPA on Valdosta redesign

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THE SNPA eBULLETIN has published a write-up on the recently-launched redesign of The Valdosta Daily Times.

From that article:

Times Publisher John H. “Sandy” Sanders said: “We have been working toward this launch date for more than four months, and we are excited to be bringing our readers a better-looking newspaper.”

Sanders said advertisers who were shown a prototype of the new format were overwhelmingly supportive of the changes and design.

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