June 18, 2018, critique

There are A TON of comments marked on the critique, so I suggest each of you go through it. Below I’ve identified things to look out for based on “trends” — as in things I see more than once and lessons all of you could benefit from.


You did it! The first summer issue always is a challenge, and you should be glad you got through it.

Not a fluff piece: When I first saw the Burritoville story, I was afraid I was about to read a free ad, but NO! Jessie took the news angle, which is exactly what the story should have done. BRAVO!

Design: We are using the fundamentals of page design well. Each page has a dominant image.

Flag: Looks great! I really like the sophisticated look and feel. I might try moving it up a bit, though. There’s a lot of white space above it so it feels a little out of balance on the page. Maybe it could be a skosh larger?

Problems: The headline edition

Headlines shouldn’t be centered: Headlines should be align left. Many, if not most, of our headlines were centered. Check to make sure you have the correct button selected.

Accuracy issues in headlines
Page 1: Burritoville introduces food truck
This headline is not quite accurate. That’s the headline you’d write for a story after the truck has been put into use. The story states that they hope to introduce the truck “this week.” The accurate version should be:
Burritoville to introduce food truck

This headline also doesn’t quite nail it. NIU is, in fact, receiving $83.6 million in state funding. The $1.6 million referred to in the story is just the increase over the previous year. See entry below for new headline.

Watch for “bad breaks” in headlines: Certain things need to be kept on the same line in headlines. Some examples include proper nouns, hyphenated words, dollar amounts. Here we should have kept the dollar amount on the same line as the word “million.” One cool thing to keep in mind is that it’s OK to abbreviate “million” with “M.” Same goes with “billion” and “B.” The new headline could be:

NIU to receive $1.6 M
boost in state funding

Here the headline is more than two characters short on the top dek, and it’s not as specific as it should be. If you didn’t read the story, it’d be fair to believe it’s the first time she’s been named an All-American, when in fact it’s the second. Also, it’s All-American, not All-America. A better headline would be:
Whyte receives 2nd
All-American honor

Problems: Photos/graphics edition

Black and white photos came out too dark. Also the zig-zaggy looks is called being “pixelated.” We have a pixelated graphic on page 3 and a pixelated photo on page 6. This happens when we blow up art too big and the image starts to lose its integrity. Often you can resize them to be bigger. Sometimes with photos, we accidentally use thumbnails instead of the actual downloaded image. I can sit down with you if we can ever get in the same room at the same time and show you this stuff.

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