Rhetorical Answer

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A response to the question never asked

Comparing newspaper front pages

The Newseum web site shows front pages from daily newspapers every single day. As such, it showcases a wide range of design choices, from typography to spread layout to use of color in graphics and photos, as well as editorial choices pertaining to content.

For instance, here is today’s front page of a paper from President-Elect Obama’s state. And here’s one from McCain’s state, Arizona.

The Arizona Daily Star went with a bright red graphic and oversized headline about diet disasters above the banner that instantly draws the eye. A Veterans Day story follows directly below the banner, but the dominating element on the front page is a large color photo of Bush and Obama conversing in the Oval Office. The editorial choice to insert the word ‘Friendly’ in quotes in the story’s headline amused me, but I think it says more about the headline editor than either of the men in the photo.

The photo in the Arizona Daily Star is nothing, however, compared to the nearly 2/3-page inexplicably high-contrast image on the front page of the Chicago Tribune. Who appears to be leading whom on this White House tour? No “Double Chin Takeout” headline distracts from the main story, although the newspaper’s name in presidential blue Blackletter type hovers over the photo, surrounded in a white halo. Um…okay. Then there is an even smaller Veteran’s Day article on the Tribune front page than there is on the Daily Star’s, wedged at the bottom between the weather summary and a photo of “Elvis’ mystery woman.” I’ll give you one guess who the entire editorial staff voted for last Tuesday.

Compare your local paper to some others from other regions and see how they differ in presentation, scope of coverage, and visual emphasis. Then compare to your favorite online news source. Where do you get your daily news from most frequently? Why? If you only ponder these questions, that’s cool, but I’d love to see your opinions in the comments.

Filed under: Design, Reflection, , ,

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