JEANETTE WAS NAMED Executive Editor of Times Newspapers in March and sends along some fronts for our review and critique.
“Hello Mr. Henninger,
I recently read on the Internet that you critique news pages. We would love for you to do some of ours. I sent you four e-mails with the front pages. We have five weekly newspapers, but I couldn’t locate our fifth one.
Thanks in advance. We look forward to hearing what you have to say.”
Jeanette’s submissions follow, each with some quick notes from Ed.
1. I’m guessing that you’re expecting some comment on your nameplate-in-front-of-photo approach, and I won’t disappoint you. In a word: Overdone. The “Main Street” photo and the ads seem to be just thrown up at the top, with little or no planning. And why would you want to run a photo that shows a deserted downtown? There no people here and only two or three cars. Not very appealing. But good work on outlining and shadowing the nameplate so it doesn’t blend into the background.
2. Is your “The Domain” column so popular that you give it page 1 play? Or is this just a tone-time thing?
3. Good lead photo but I’m thinking it might have been better if it were cropped much tighter to create a closeup of the dog and the firefighters. Do we really have to see the whole back end of the truck?
4. Bottom left photo is far to small and the overlay caption appears to be a affectation.
1. Geez! can we find any more photos to put behind the nameplate??!!!! You really need to rethink this approach. It’s distracting.
2. Two more photos here with questionable use of overlaid captions.
3. All packages in three columns and page is split down the middle.
1. Top of the page is a bit better, in part because of the gradient fade on the left photo. Elements don’t appear quite so jammed.
2. Did we really need to say “Students go green on Earth Day” in green? Seems a bit cliché to me.
3. Oversized quote marks on the pull quote is an outdated design.
4. The pet adoption package is very nicely done. Good photos and it’s easy to follow, with no element so long I will begin to lose interest. I encourage more of this!
1. Top of the page is OK, though it convinces me that you probably need to take another look at this approach. It’s just too busy and it siphons impact from the rest of the page.
3. The blue box is distracting. Color use seems gratuitous.
4. Yeah, the lead photo isn’t much but I bet your readers liked it!
Overall, some standardizing of design throughout all of these papers would be an improvement.
So, there ya have it: my thoughts. Let’s see what others have to contribute.