The Line. 04.25.12

The Line.  04.25.12
The Good. The Bad. The Shorthorn.

The Best Thing in the Paper: “Last-stitch effort” was a nice treat of a headline in today’s paper. Thanks to Erika Dupree for finding the unique photo on an undercovered area, and to Bryan Bastible for the clever play on a phrase we know well at the end of the semester.Best photo: Ashley Bradley’s colorful photo of President Spaniolo delivering remarks during the faculty and staff recognition ceremony. This could have been a dull shot from straight-on, but Ashley played with lighting and angles to get Spaniolo in motion. Nice work.

Solid story structure: Brandon Gray’s story on the real estate competition did a good job of unfolding detail as the reader needed it. The lede was enticing with the detail is showed, and the second paragraph gave the lede context and provided the “why am I reading this now” aspect every story needs. My quibble with this story is that it’s dated news (not good) – the event took place last Thursday … which is when it should have been reported. A week later, I’m not sure anyone cares.

Needs work:
– We’ve talked a few times about needing to think critically about what we’re reporting on. Today’s two stories that touched on water restrictions emphasized that is still a need for The Shorthorn; both stories danced around the real story – that UTA is a large consumer of water in Arlington but doesn’t seem held to standards residents are. Both ledes reflected we weren’t sure what the story focus was. Instead of saying Oozeball will go through changes, state what the change is directly (For the first time in its history, UTA must provide its own water to create the mud in this hallmark event.). In the water/city council story, the news is at the end of the story (clearly, residents are unhappy with water restrictions). Apply critical thinking when looking at these two stories … if residents are unhappy about current water restrictions, wouldn’t they also be upset about UTA using all this water? We don’t know until we ask … and then you have a story that no one has reported.

– Design of the sports page was confusing today; the awkward headlines affected cohesion within packages (sidesaddle headlines work only when used sparingly; both packages used that style, which rendered the “special” feel of them ineffective). In addition, the page is very stacked. Remember that flow and balance are important factors in design; a vertical element would have helped this page immensely. Also, try to group elements within a package – the main story package was disjointed in that it had no focal point from which to guide the reader through the package. (Likewise, Page 2 – package all briefs together.)
–  Several editing errors throughout the column on Opinion page, including basic AP and word usage issues.

Onward! Six issues left!
-BFC

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