Wilson County News: Reworking the page

ON 09.12, WE POSTED A PAGE from Kristen Weaver (see next post) of the Wilson County News. Kristen asked for “advice for this page as a learning tool.” Well, most of the comments—including a long list from yours truly—were pretty negative. There were some serious problems.

Then came a suggestion from Pauline at The Grant County Herald in Elbow Lake, MN:

“I consider myself an ‘assembler’ and I really liked it the one time the original page was shown, and then the revised version was also shown. Looking at the difference really makes your design rules make sense. Can you do this again?”

I commented that I thought that was a good idea and, yes, I would do it. I also challenged others to offer their ideas.

Along comes frequent contributor Lauri Shillings, with a suggestion. The original page submission follows, then Lauri’s suggestion, with her comments. Finally, a revise I did with some brief comments.

ORIGINAL PAGE

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FROM LAURI SHILLINGS

LAURI’S COMMENTS:

Hey Ed,

Some of the comments on this post were fishing for an idea of how to revamp the page submitted as a training measure.

Here’s my attempt. I’ve not lost an inch of text in any of the articles, I just arranged it differently and edited out photos that seemed unnecessary. There’s a ton more that could be done with this but it’s an inside black and white page and in production might not justify the time spent.

For instance, the budget workshop package could have had a chart or graph in it with all the numbers they are throwing around but the article runs long and could have been cut severely, or broken into 2 items—one about pay raise, and one about insurance. Editor’s call.

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ED’S OFFERING:

ED’S COMMENTS:

• I repositioned only the bottom two pieces, figuring that the Floresville story was the lead—and should stay the lead.

• All type here is placeholder text.

• Photos from top story are now just mug shots…which made more sense to me than running the larger photo of the two people (on the right in the original).

• I took some liberties with the depth of the Commissioners photo and trimmed the Open Range story just a bit, putting the infobox and the top of the 2d leg.

• Like Lauri, I added rules and extra spacing between packages.

• I changed the typography on the headlines, bylines and captions. Heads are now Lucida Bright, captions and bylines are in fonts of Frutiger.

So…your thoughts? Would you do it differently? How? Why? Jump in and let us know!



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1 Comment

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One response to “Wilson County News: Reworking the page

  1. Marc Stumbo

    Lauri’s second attempt is much better and much more modular. However, there’s too much space between the headlines and the story, word spacing really needs work (especially in the top story) and the columns are not vertically balanced. Also, the column gutters don’t match. The Open vs closed comparison in the box does not at all look like it goes with the story. It should be in copy – I would have put it at the top of the center column and not boxed it, but maybe used a .5 pt rule top and bottom.

    I like Ed’s version better – first of all, the gutters are mostly the same (at least within the stories themselves) and the bold bylines and extra line spacing after the byline tag add punch (I use Frutiger too – good solid and diverse family of fonts). The Open vs Closed comparison is better – clearly goes with the story, although the top rule is a little close and the Open vs Closed could be bigger. A good idea would be to come up with a style for those and use that style consistently. Good usage of the mug shots – really the only way the doctored photo from the top right of the original layout works. And I am a fan of the photo credit appearing at the end of the caption – that keeps the body of the caption closer to the photo. An all cap bold slug line at the beginning of the caption would have added a little punch as well.

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