Monthly Archives: February 2012

Your new computer: A smartphone?

STILL THINK THAT FLIP PHONE you bought five years ago is all you need? Wrong!

My father-in-law had a saying I loved: “You standin’ still, you backin’ up.”

And if you haven’t got a smartphone? You. Are. Backin’. Up!

Now comes this study that claims that the world now buys more smartphones than computers.

That’s right: more smartphones than computers.

Maybe it’s time to trade Ol’ Flip in for a newer model.

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Makin’ it better

I’M NOT REALLY SURE we can think of ourselves as news designers without having a strong respect and love for typography. After, all, type is about 80 percent of what we do!

So when I come across a little piece of fun-typography-in-motion, part of the fun is sharing it with you!


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Foto fixing fotog fired

A RECENT POLL here drew a number of comments about what’s acceptable practice when retouching photos. We later reported on the surprising results…and further comments.

Now comes this story of a Sacramento Bee photographer being fired after manipulating multiple photos.

Seems to me there’s some room for manipulation in feature or posed shots, but not spot news photos. And, yes, I understand and appreciate the arguments about the “slippery slope.”

I think I, too, would have fired the guy.

What do you think?

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Kubrick the photojournalist

STANLEY KUBRICK is famous as a director of some of Hollywood’s more memorable and controversial films.

Among them: 2001: A Space Odyssey. A Clockwork Orange. Dr. Strangelove. Eyes Wide Shut. The Shining. Full Metal Jacket. Spartacus.

And one of my favorites: Paths of Glory.

But what many don’t know is that Kubrick was an accomplished photojournalist. In the summer of 1949, Look magazine sent him to Chicago for a photo shoot. Here are some of Kubrick’s photos from that assignment.

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Things we should never ever do!

JUST SCAN THE SUBHEAD…and you know this is big mistake. Never ever put on a page anything you wouldn’t want your grandma (or your granddaughters!) to read.

Years ago, I was told this story:

An editor at a small weekly thought he was above having to work with correspondent columns. You know the type of column I’m talking about: the kind where the correspondent tells the story of Aunt Ima’s sister’s son’s daughter “coming over for a weekend from college to visit with Aunt Ima and they went to church together and then out to Bessie’s Blue Ridge Restaurant for breakfast with the family of Barry and Bunny Bixler and the Bixler boys and…” well, you get the idea. Real “down home” stuff that some editors hate but many readers love.

The frustrated editor was trying to make sense of the column but had to leave to cover another story. Before he did, he slapped a “for position only” headline on it that read:

What the f–k
is this all about? 

He had planned to get back to editing the column  as soon as he returned.


While the editor was gone, a prepress staffer cleared the page. Seems they were in a hurry to get the page finished with its pair on the plate.


Yes, the headline appeared in the paper that week. No, the editor wasn’t fired. Should he have been? I’m not sure.

Here’s are more details on this latest gaffe.

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Not so good news…

ACCORDING TO NATHAN MYHRVOLD, “…one of the saddest stories on Page 1 is about newspapers themselves.”

“All over the country,” Myhrvold says,”venerable old dailies are shedding reporters, editors and other workers.”

Myhrvold paints a dark picture for those “venerable old dailies.”

Trouble is, his report mentions: Seattle. Denver. Philadelphia. Minneapolis. The New York Times.

Well, we all know they’ve been having their problems.

But…check out the next post.

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…and not so bad news

DURING A RECENT luncheon organized by the Ad Club of Toronto, Publisher John Cruickshank of the Toronto Star said: “I feel very optimistic about the long term for our news organizations…the best of times are ahead for the best of brands.

Cruickshank noted newspaper readership in Toronto has actually grown in recent years, thanks in part to free publications like Metro, which is partly owned by the Torstar Corp., which owns the Toronto Star.

Moderator Ken Whyte had asked the publishers to name the date at which they would cease printing a paper.

“I think the answer is never in our lifetime,” said Bill McDonald, publisher of Metro, comparing it to banks. They added automated machines, and now have expanded to online and mobile banking, yet tellers are still needed.

“It’s akin to us going from print to web to mobile. We’re all going to do it, but it doesn’t mean we’re going to close our branches and fire our tellers.”

Hmmm…makes me wonder if our Canadian brethren have managed to build a better business model over the years than those in (see previous post) Seattle. Denver. Philadelphia. Minneapolis. The New York Times.

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