The Line. 02.03.10

Here are some notes on this issue of The Shorthorn:

Best headline:

“Shoot, ready, aim” on the editorial today. While the editorial misfired on the topic, the headline perfectly describes the editorial’s intent.

Best photo:

Michael Minasi’s “In the news” wild art image on Page 3. The lighting and composition of this photo were well done.

Runner up: Jacob Adkisson’s photo of the family at the Alley Cats fundraiser. The photo lost some midtones in the middle of the image. Be sure to adjust for our print specs.

Best thing in today’s paper:

The sourcing on “SEC groundbreaking to be in March.” After Sharayah Sherrod’s initial source retracted a statement regarding the date of the special events center groundbreaking, Sharayah sought out alternative sources (the construction group and the city) to confirm the data she had before the retraction. This, on deadline. Nice work.

Things to work on:

– Editorial board: Today’s editorial reflected little reporting prior to publication. In fact, it was based on an report that wasn’t checked thoroughly. We took someone’s word and didn’t apply our critical thinking skills (sure, the credit on the account is arbitrary, but paper costs money … who is paying for it?) It also sounds like we formed our opinion before we had any info. NO!

– The same critical thinking should be applied to stories. The news story this editorial was based on did not answer the same question. Don’t rely on a web site for answers – contact a person and allow yourself the chance to fact check and follow up with questions you have. A critical question in the SC resolution story is how the print paper is secured and paid for. Does it come from student fees? If so, then the answer that the amount per student doesn’t have a monetary value needs clarification.

– Don’t forget the UTA angle. The Shorthorn’s mission is to provide stories and photos that cover news relevant to UTA. Several stories in today’s paper missed a chance to explain that angle. The Page 2 photo package, for example, needed to say why UTA students care. Were they there en mass? Today’s story on the NBA All Star game needed to say how UTA students are impacted (I wasn’t clear on this myself – parking could be an issue, but the game is a Sunday … and there are no classes on Sunday). Good reporting, but not sure about whether this is a Shorthorn story.

– Design: Not a lot of action/flow to Page 1 today. Be sure you are putting the BEST images and content out front. This page felt static, and part of it was the decision to put the rendition of the events center out front instead of the map. I’m glad to see more maps with stories, though. Be consistent on size and construction (crop out buildings and space that distracts from the focal point).

– Show, don’t just tell: Awesome topic from Brooke on the Opinion Page today. Who doesn’t have a story about being misinterpreted in texts or other social media? What could have helped your argument was including results of some of the studies happening now related to the topic (for example, college students are prime subjects for researchers hoping to learn how social media is impacting learning).

-BF

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