Critiques

The newspaper is critiqued each day by the adviser, who posts the paper with comments in the newsroom. Several times a week, the adviser will also post critiques here.

SEPT. 19
DESIGN
The front page was solid today — a clearly dominant image and a head in the center that was equally dominant. (Still, do not be afraid to run even larger heads and pictures, if they merit.)

CONTENT
We really need to find news and compelling stories related to assignments. Do not just explain how an event was presented. What’s the new action or the unique aspect of the story you are covering. That requires that reporters hang out, spend time with sources, regularly meet with leaders and research, think and ponder. Today, we aren a story on LASO that explains the organizations events and by giving a general overview on their plans. Does the organization make a difference in our community? Is this a waste of funds? Was someone affected by this group’s actions? We never find out. Editors need to kick these stories back until we have a news angle or spike them. Actually, all non-breaking news stories should be submitted two days out so editors can review them and kick them back when needed for further reporting.

The story for the African-American program did offer context, recent actions and many sources. Good job reporting om this.

The story (Myth vs. Reality) needed to lead and focus more directly on points students need to learn, not the fact some students attended this and learned some general points. [“It’s impossible to conquer the world all by yourself.”] Okay, how do students deal with pressures? Don’t tell me that students gathered to hear tips; instead, offer the tips here. Cover these events as if you are teaching the reader what was offered.

We also over-explained in the HERC six-pack story, even though the lead did a much better job of connecting the event to an individual.

After two days of terrific columns, we are left with wire columns. WouLd love to read more compelling, informative columns by our own staffers on a regular basis. Volunteer to Graham, if you are interested. I’l be glad to help you develop and write columns, if you have never done one before.

We really need to cover the Embarras film festival. There are some terrific stories to be found out their each night. A small photo that is ill-placed as a floater on page 5 is awkward, and insufficient.

Make sure that headlines include subjects, verns and offer a complete though. The one on page 6 [“reduction in alcohol-related disciplinary cases”] is an incomplete though. Perhaps, “Excess drinking cut nearly in half.”

Don’t lead with general statements in leads. Get right to the compelling angles and new actions. Don’t tell readers what they probably already know, such as:

“As the year moves on, students at Eastern get anxious about many things. Tests, quizzes and what to wear on a given night, but one thing that students may not think about is their health.
Meningitis is probably the last health issue on students’ minds.”

The first graph doesn’t add anything. The second sentences gets right to the point, so lead with the sentence about meningitis.

This sentence is also too general — probably better used in a comp essay. Perhaps. Delete such wordiness nd get more to the point or to the conflict or to something that is either newsworthy or entertaining.

Students enter college hopeful for the future and hopeful for success, seemingly unaware of the myths that can meddle with that success and the reality that will create it. College offers many opportunities including academic as well as social.

We have a nice feature on kickoffs in sports that discusses the nature of this simple play. The jump head, though, could have included a complete thought and 2 decks to carry this package. If that makes the story a bit longer, cut it. We need the bigger head to carry this. You would only be cutting a graph or two, something any story can stand, even a solid one like this.

SEPT. 18
Not a whole lot of news in today’s paper. We were fortunate to get the release about the bar raid, otherwise we would have had very little news today. We also are not finding stories for our readers. Instead, we offer general stories with background, explanations of processes and some general dull quotes. We need to spend more time on a story. Be curious. Be persistent. Keep interviewing and watching and researching until you find a compelling angle. I still appreciate the stories where we do some of this work because that is part of the educational process of this newspaper. Kevin, for instance, checked some archives for his story (yeah!), plus he spoke with several key people. But we also needed to get more perspective, find interesting stories that reveal and explain how their lives have been altered. We could have watched them as they work, recording dialogue. Find out when they have meetings or need to officiate. Speak with students leaders, etc.

Remember, content drives design. Do not cut important information just to make a page look good. Instead, design around the content. Sure we can cut stories, but let’s make sure we do it judiciously. Don’t cut 200 words from a story just because the jump hole is smaller. Plan better and adapt. Find another place to jump this story, unless the content is poor.

We had a really nice graphic on page 1 (the bar raid details put into a bottle.) Simple, really, but very effective. Good.

But our front page was a little busy. I appreciate that we tried to get some art on the cover, but we also need to make sure we clearly elevate the most important stories of the day. The stories and art fight one another here. Next time, consider elevating the key news of the day and enlarging the photo from the key feature, if that two do not go hand in hand. I revised the front page to offer some clearer ideas on how to elevate the news with a hierarchy of headlines and with a picture that clearly is dominant. See below.
eah! We had some relevant and interesting columns on our front page the past two days. Both touched on the importance of an informed citizenry to a democracy, but from two different angles. I just hope people will keep informed and care about this great democracy. You’d think college students would be more informed. Sheesh.

Do the research before heading to a meeting. Find some stories before you head out. There were several angles related to the student-athlete advisory committe, I’m sure. How do feel about the new NCAA rules? How do feel about our interim ADs. What do they want in a new AD. What are some issues athletes face on and off the field. Instead, we just explained what SAC is. Snooze. Not worth a news brief.

Let’s also work harder to write headlines that entice readers, not force them to turn the page as quickly as they can. Really, do the following two headlines compel anyone to read on? If so, I have some swamp land to sell you (ba-doom, boom! thank you, thank you.)

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: