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Wandfluh Jordan Wandfluh John Lofflin Editing, Layout and Design March 16, 2010 For my newspaper analysis

I wanted to utilize four consecutive newspapers from my hometown of Savannah, Missouri. The newspaper is called The Savannah Reporter. I collected the issues from January 7th, January 14th, January 21st, January 28th, and February 4th. As I look at the issue it appears to be divided into a block format, which allows the newspaper to be visually appealing. Most of the stories run vertical but this illusion may be from the gutter in the middle of most of the front pages. The issue of January 21st and February 4th has the most distinct gutters. The other issues have gutters but are abruptly stopped with a photo or the editor managed to layout the front page without the use of a distinct gutter. The eye movement is decent but the problem with every issue is the proportions. If you were to fold the newspaper into fours one portion would be picture or word heavy. The January 7th and 14th issues top right sides are predominately photos. The issue of January 21st and February 4th creates a nice S shape but January 28th is now picture heavy on the left. The newspaper needs more balance. The Savannah Reporter is one of the most visually appealing newspapers I have seen. It is inviting and has the small hometown feel. The flag brings you in and once you see the large blocked formatting it seems easy to read. It is sectioned out well. However, the headlines are either too big or too small. For example, January 21st issue has a headline County Hires Out For Snow Removal. This headline is probably about 48 point or larger. This story is not important enough to deserve such a large headline. This headline size will draw the reader to the story but will be letdown shortly after reading it. Some of the headlines are so small they get lost in the stories. The photos used in the paper are used for substance rather than a visual appeal.

Wandfluh Most of the photos are of snow or snow plows. People are lacking from the photos and the detailed shots are unrecognizable until you take a closer look. A reflection of the photographer can be seen in the photo on the issue of January 7th. Then when you flip the paper to the inside no photos can be found except wedding announcements or group photos of high honor roll. The design is modular and every issue looks the same and has the same pattern. The front-page design is well organized and easy to follow. Each column is 11 picas and the issues are broken up into 6 columns. The columns are all justified. There are no rag right or rag left types. The design of this paper needs to be reevaluated and designed again. There are tombstones on almost every front page along with gutters in the middle of the front pages. Even though it seems easy to read at first glance the headlines confuse the reader. The editor tries to cover this up by changing the size and font of the headline but ultimately fails. The awful design is slightly saved by the slick tease, which is big and bold right under the flag. Each tease has the cost, two stories inside and a quote. Besides the tease the design is unsurprising. The photos are dull and the design is lifeless. The only appeal is the character of the paper, which is a small town vibe. The style is unique from city newspapers because there is more room for each story since nothing happens in small towns. As I mentioned before the newspaper is bundled up into packaged stories. The reading blocks help guide the reader. The only advice I have to improve The Savannah Reporter is to look at the design more closely. The gutters, tombstones and bumping heads have got to go. Rearranging would help this problem. Beside those design conflicts, the newspaper is clean and crisp. As a former resident of Savannah, Missouri I felt the headlines were simple and right to the point. None of them were trying to be funny or strayed too far away from the story to get your attention. This helps the reader get right to the point. I did like how all the headlines on the front page were different in size and boldness. This helped break of the page. The most overused violation The Savannah Reporter abuses are tombstones. In

Wandfluh the issue of January 7th the first two headlines (Emails released following allegations and Preparing for more snow) are side-by-side causing instant confusion among the readers. Not only are they tombstones but who is preparing for more snow and who says they are preparing for more snow? This is clearly a no subject violation and an editorialzation. The next issue of January 14th repeats the same mistake. The first two headlines are tombstones (BURGLAR NABBED and Five rollovers, no serious injuries). Then you turn the page and once again a tombstone! On the same page a headline reads Possession of marijuana gets jail time. Gets is a weak verb and could easily be replaced with the word sentenced. Then on page six of the same issue a headline that goes beyond the story is used: North Andrew Attends Motivational Conference. It sounds like the whole school went but then as you go on to read the story only the FFA members attended the conference. Then on page seven a sad humor is used: Cold weather puts a freeze on knowledge at SHS. A gutter separates the page as well. The issue of January 21st is well written except the gutter on the front and one tombstone on page nine. The issue of January 28th starts out with a question head on the front page: Ironwood Street Improvements in Jeopardy? The issue of February 4th does not have any headlines sins. The story I found most intriguing was Burglar Nabbed which is in the issue of January 14th. This story was followed up in the issue of January 21st with the headline Myers hearing rescheduled. The story is well covered and easy to follow. There are good quotes and the information is intriguing. Nothing happens in small towns so this was a case the people wanted to know everything about. There were no stories that were examples of bad writing. Each story stood for a purpose and was straightforward. The same goes for the editing. Small towns only use information relevant to their readers. Every lead was dead on point with the story. I especially liked the lead for Burglar Nabbed. Savannah Chief of Police Dave Vincent reported Monday that he is very pleased that there has been a halt to the area break-ins that have affected several local businesses, including Millers General Store #1; Piatas Mexican Restaurant; and Just One More Pool Hall. Among those, Millers was the most frequently hit, with three break-ins in a span of three and a half weeks. This lead hit all the right points. The next paragraph goes on to explain who and where he was caught.

Wandfluh This story is a prime example of bringing the stories home to their readers. What I love about my hometown is the newspaper is something you keep a hold of. Since Savannah is such a small town anything can get published in the newspaper. My mother saved all The Savannah Reporters I was in. The residents of Savannah, Missouri can get recognized for just about anything they do for example on the front page of the issue of February 4th are two Savannah Middle School boys with their state awards in the EPA Missouri Radon Poster Contest. This may be the only time these boys may be in the public eye and The Savannah Reporter made it possible. The Savannah Reporter lets their residents shine. The newspaper of Savannah help the readers understand what and who their community is about. They do not put random stories in their paper to try to make it longer. They know news is seldom in a small town so this gives them the opportunity to put most of the news on the front page. It allows them to include the newspaper from the Savannah High School in the centerfold. They let the residents make the news. This newspaper is only found in Savannah, Missouri. It covers local news, sports, business, jobs and community events. It is published once a week on Thursday and the circulation is 2,700 copies. Most of the news is on the front page, this goes for city government news as well. The news is on the front and inside is the profiles, sports, records, classifieds, Opinion, public notices, and real estate. Looking throughout the paper there is not many stories dealing with city government except small stories that happen at city council meetings. The editorials in The Savannah Reporter are something people look forward to reading. It has been this way for years since Guy Speckman started writing the opinion piece. I went to school with his son so I have known this man since I was little. He is a very opinionated man and very hot headed. When he was heated about a subject he would let you know and in well-versed manner. All the letters to the editor are local and all about Savannah. In a way Savannah is a get away. When I leave Parkville to go home I always feel secluded in Savannah like nothing is going to happen to me. The news is the same way. The people of Savannah only care about their little retirement town. The Savannah Reporter can be looked at in many ways. I think the definition of

Wandfluh the reporter is hometown news. Not including national or international news may be dumbing the public down but Savannah is not directly affected by those topics. I feel this publication is going in the right direction. The public can always get broader news on the television or Internet but this paper is narrowed down to their community. This is the place they can turn to when they only want to read about what is going on with their town. Writing this analysis kind of makes me want to go work on this paper after college. The main writer is a man I went to school with. Calling him a man instead of a boy seems weird. I am not making this comment out of mere realization for myself but I am stating the fact I see the world of journalism constantly changing. The writers are changing, the formats are changing and laziness of layout and editing are changing. Can we go back to the times when the newspaper was the hot ticket to news? I am hoping eventually it will. Fads repeat themselves. Nowadays people are resorting back to the hippie fads. I am hoping the real world of journalism follows right behind.


DIRECTIONS: Utilize four consecutive issues of a newspaper. Critique the A section of the newspaper and its editorial and op-ed pages (wherever they appear). Your critique should be in the form of a narrative and not more than five typed pages double-spaced. The analysis should be placed in the dropbox in e-Companion by noon on the day of the final and you should also bring a hard copy of it to class. You should also bundle the actual newspapers (just the A section and the editorial and op-ed pages) and bring them to class at the final. Use highlighters or other methods to draw my attention to elements of these papers you used for major points in your written paper. I will grade the digital version of your paper in the dropbox and return it there. Answer at least the following questions in the course of your analysis: 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. Is the design of page one mostly vertical or mostly horizontal? Does it provide good eye movement? Does it appear dense or is it easy to read? How are photographs used? Is the design modular? How wide are the columns in picas? Does the paper vary them? Is all the type justified or does it use rag rite or rag left type? When? 7. Did you find tombstones, bumping heads, bad wraps or gutters in your four newspapers? 8. Is the tease effective and worth the space it uses? 9. Is the design interesting or surprising? Do you get a sense of the character of the newspaper from it? Does the paper seem to have its own "style?" 10. Does the paper "package" like stories to create reading blocks? 11. How would you improve the design of this newspaper? 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. Are the headlines written in an interesting and helpful way? Did you find any violations of our 30 headline sins. Cite them. Cite examples of good writing from the newspaper? Cite examples of bad writing. Provide examples of good editing and provide examples of bad editing. For instance, did you find a story that raised a question and didn't answer it? Did you find weak leads that go no place? Did you find particularly good leads? Does the newspaper bring the stories home to its readers? Does it care about its readers? What, if anything, does the newspaper do to help readers understand news?

1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6.

What is the circulation? Who or what owns it? What news services does it use? Where does the paper play city government news? Describe how it covers city government. Does the newspaper take a strong stand in editorials? What percentage of letters to the editor concern local, what percentage concern national, and what percentage concern international issues? Is this a clue to what the paper emphasizes in its own content? Discuss briefly but thoughtfully how you think this newspaper defines news. Finally, provide an overall critique of the publication. What, exactly, would you change if you were made editor? Important note: Feel free to comment on anything I've left off the list you think is important to understanding the nature of this publication. These 23 questions are the minimum.