Empty space ... or negative space? 2/12/18

By Ed Henninger

Negative space, just like text, headlines, photos and other design elements, is very much an important part of your design – especially on features pages and photo pages.

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Tampa Bay Times, 10News WTSP investigation reveals Zombie Campaigns 2/3/18

A joint investigation by the Tampa Bay Times and 10News WTSP found at least 100 Zombie Campaigns nationwide where spending remains brisk despite the lack of viable campaigns, or in the most egregious cases, living candidates. Reporters from the Times and 10News spent a year reviewing one million records from the Federal Elections Commission and found rampant flouting of federal law, which prevents spending campaign money on personal expenses or costs unrelated to elections.

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Stick to the basics: Present all sides of the story 1/23/18

By Jim Pumarlo

Most reporters can likely relate to this scenario. Someone speaks up at a public meeting to unleash criticism about an individual or organization. Reporters have little difficulty presenting a balanced report – recording all sides of the story – if the accused is at the meeting.

But what happens if the individual is not present? And what if deadlines do not permit time to get the other side of the argument?

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Engaging readers in New Orleans 1/23/18

By Jane Nicholes, SNPA Correspondent

The last line of Editor Mark Lorando's first column on how The Times-Picayune works was this: "The floor is yours."

His readers took it.

Here's a sample of the detailed, thoughtful comments readers made: This headline, published today: "Battles over abortion heat up as House Republicans pass ban" reads as if the House Republicans passed a ban on abortion, when the article's content instructs that the House Republicans banned federal funding for abortion. The word "ban" in the headline would seem to refer to the word abortion, but, after reading the article, that is not the case.

Perhaps I would find this less disturbing were this in print, given the finite size of a newspaper, but, this was online, and it appears geared only to draw clicks to the article. And, this was a T-P reporter, not Reuters, the WaPo, the NYT, or the AP.

That first column on Jan. 25, 2017, drew 277 comments, some of them from staffers who jumped in to join Lorando's conversation with readers. In the wake of the 2016 presidential election, it was clear that New Orleanians held their hometown newspaper accountable regardless of platform.

"It created the need for a different level of transparency about our journalism," said Lorando, vice-president of content for NOLA Media Group, the Advance Local property that operates The Times-Picayune and NOLA.com. "It felt like the only way to combat a lot of the rancor we were experiencing was to talk it through. I think local news organizations have not been particularly good at this historically."

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New 'Innovation in Focus' series will show journalists how to tell stories using emerging tech 1/16/18


By Jennifer Nelson, Donald W. Reynolds Journalism Institute

The proliferation of new storytelling technologies can overwhelm journalists as they wonder which tools are worth the investment of time and money. Even the time to investigate can be a drain on budgets and staffing.

A team at the Donald W. Reynolds Journalism Institute's Futures Lab is stepping in to help with its new video series "Innovation in Focus," which launched Jan. 15. The series is designed to teach, by example, how to tell a story using various emerging technologies. It also highlights challenges and opportunities, tips and tricks, and equipment costs.

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Nitty-gritty design Top 10 1/16/18

By Ed Henninger

A client recently asked me to put together a presentation for his newspapers on nitty-gritty details that can make or break a design.

I came up with just a bit more than a couple dozen. But thinking about them more, I've now narrowed them down to a Top 10.

My thinking is that any one of these can make your design better, but leave one out and your design suffers.

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Cox Communications launches Converge, a new storytelling platform 1/2/18

Cox Communications has announced the launch of Converge, the company's new storytelling platform designed to inform, inspire and connect people to the things they enjoy through technology. Stories on Converge are organized into three categories:

  • Community: Stories that illuminate the lasting changes Cox is making for the people that live and work in Cox's communities.
  • Entertainment: Stories that connect people to the hottest shows, movies, sports, places and names in today's culture.
  • Technology: Stories that inform and connect people to enable moments that matter.

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Rookies make mistakes 12/12/17

By Ed Henninger

Let's face it: If you have a "new kid" doing design on your staff ... well, you'll have some design mistakes in your paper from time to time.

It takes a while – perhaps months – for the design rookie to learn what works and what doesn't. And during that time, he'll do some things that may make you cringe. It's OK – as long as you work with him to make sure he doesn't repeat them.

Here are "Top 10" mistakes you can watch for – and correct:

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Is your 'designer' a designer? 11/14/17

By Ed Henninger

How do you tell if your "designer" really is a designer? Here are some of the things I'd look for.

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Design is: How it works 10/10/17

By Ed Henninger

Readers want a newspaper that looks right ... and feels right. They want the look and feel of their paper to reflect their community.

But what they want most of all is for their newspaper to work right for them.

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