The Line: Today’s best work

The Line. 01.17.12

Congratulations on a great first issue. I’ve seen folks picking it up across campus – pretty cool. You’ve given them good reason. And now, a drumroll, please …

Arlington resident Jacob Bradford, 15, hurdles over a hand railing Saturday in front of Carlisle Hall. Bradford and Arlington resident Will Williams, 18, right, like to preform parkour at UTA because of the really creative structures on campus and the thrill it provides them. (The Shorthorn: Richard Hoang)

 The Best Photo in the Paper: The parkour wild art found by by Richard Hoang on Page 2. It’s active, unexpected, and captures PEOPLE DOING THINGS on campus. That’s what makes for good wild art.

Note: Photos today were … interesting. We found the right moments — the football tournament, move-in, textbook purchasing — but the photos didn’t have the zing that comes with consistent composition. The key is to get people in their element doing the unexpected; find the moment over the topic. See below for more detail.

The Best Headline in the Paper: We had solid headlines throughout the paper, but “Residents go all in at center” best sold the story it was on to the reader. The story it was on is about campus residents enjoying an evening of fake gambling to test the new CPC. “Go all in” brings a double meaning, when interpreted as how the university is putting many of its eggs in the CPC. Good job, Bryan Bastible. Another good headline led the Sports page, “Basketballs bouncing both ways,” sold two stories – it did a nice job of summing up both the men’s team’s success and the women’s team’s not-so-successful work so far this season. Good job, Francisco Villarreal.

bike graphic The Best Design Element in the Paper: I learned a lot in this paper, but a nice “surprise” for this reader was the map showing different bike racks on campus (Page 12). It was detailed, included information about the types of bike racks, and was a nice “slice and dice” piece (meaning as a reader, I’m going to cut this out and use it frequently. Thank you Sarah Lutz and Lorraine Frajkor for pulling this together.

Note: The graphic worked because it included reference points that were easily identified — buildings and street names. Other graphics didn’t work as well — the map on the same page showing the location of a proposed apartment complex showed the location, but not its proximity to something students easily would recognize. Remember reference points provide context in your graphic.

And … The Best Thing in the Paper ….

Krista Torralva’s gripping lede and writing in “Sorority mourns ‘loving’ member’ ”  on Page 1 was a literal page turner. Krista did a wonderful job in interviewing key sources on this story, which unfolded tragically during the winter break. Krista took her time and developed sources who were not ready to talk until recently, which culminated in some amazing storytelling through their eyes.  This quote … “I texted back, ‘I’m sorry your uncle is acting weird,” Garcia said. “I ever heard anything again.” Is both chilling and good foreshadowing. Nice work finding a way to update the story without repeating what has been reported in other media.

Note: The vigil, which is the most timely element in this story, needed to be included in a nut graph on Page One to let people know why they are reading this now. Don’t forget the basics, especially when pushing narrative form.

But that wasn’t all …

Holly Ward did a great job explaining how methane emissions in landfills can be turned into electricity (no easy thing to describe succinctly!).

Tra Nguyen found a way to report on the private event at the College Park Center even though she and Casey Holder couldn’t get in. They set up camp outside and interviewed folks as they went in and out of the event. Good job finding a way to do the job we needed to do.

Betty Rodriguez had an interesting take on exercise with her workout trends illustrations on Scene (Page 6).

Randy McVay had a great lede on his women’s basketball story  — it summed up the story concisely and accurately. (see Page 15)

(Don’t forget to get the full critique, posted on the wall by my office in the newsroom.)

-BFC

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