What’s your favorite … issue? July 23 critique on deck.

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Let’s just say today’s issue was one of my favorites.

I’m gushing at all there was to offer readers in this issue. From page 1 to the last page, there was something that readers could chew on in nearly every page.

That’s why the theme for this critique is momentum. But more on that in a bit. First, let’s get down to the best things I saw in this issue.

Awesome lede is week goes to two staffers — Perla Cabrera and Richard Hoang. These guys did GREAT when it came to starting off their stories with interesting ledes that made me want to keep reading.

Let’s take a look at Perla’s lede to her story.

The Movin’ Mavs will host its annual summer camps Thursday in the Physical Education Building, where members will learn more than just how to play basketball.

The last part of the sentence “where members will learn more than just how to play basketball” makes the lede. The front of the lede is pretty standard and had me expecting to get a regular who and what kind of lede. But the turn here makes me want to continue reading because my interested is piqued.

Richard’s lede to his Dunkin Donuts story does the same thing.

Dunkin’ Donuts opened its new location Tuesday at 4349 S. Cooper St., and students are debating if it’s worth the drive.

This lede is telling me that this isn’t a story about a new business coming into town. This is a story about what UTA students think. And his story delivered that. The graphic helped as well.

Talking about graphics, the best visual this week is from Ashley Pena. It was just fun to look at and check out. It made the reader spend sometime with the content in the best possible way.

Now let’s get to it. Though it’s not without it’s issues (ha!) this issue of the paper I think was the best of the summer so far. When I picked it up, I thought this was the one that was most like y’all with a point of view and topics important to your readers.

I LOVED the yoga graphic and photos on the front page. I also loved the gifs with the story. Great way to making information visual. However, I really wanted a story to go along with it. Though the idea of sending people to the website is great, it shouldn’t come at the expense of leaving a reader out in the cold. That’s how I felt when I didn’t see a story there. It was disappointing.

The headline gave me pause but when I saw yoga poses, I chuckled. Not sure how others took to it but it gave me a laugh.

Another great graphic from Ashely on the enrollment story. With the color, it made it pop and drew the eye to the story. Awesome.

Talking about the enrollment story, here’s  a lesson about numbers — don’t put them all in the same paragraph. Break them up. Numbers are hard on the eyes. Well, they’re hard on my eyes. Here’s the paragraph I’m talking about:

The College of Nursing holds the top position with 7,144 students enrolled, an increase of 9.8 percent, while the College of Engineering shows the biggest increase in enrollment with a total of 2,121 students enrolled, an increase of 26.6 percent. The College of Business has declined in enrollment by 125 students, 4.5 percent.

Here’s a possible way to redo this.

The College of Nursing enrollment increased 10 percent from this time last year, making them the college with the most students enrolled during the summer with 7,144 students. However,  the largest enrollment increase goes to the College of Engineering. Its enrollment jumped 26.6 percent for a total of 2,121 students. The College of Business enrollment declined 4.5 percent or 125 students.

Here’s some things to note. 1) Sentence length. I made them as short as possible, making sure that there was one main idea in each one. That’s how you spoon feed complex info, like enrollment numbers (not really complex but some folks run with it) to readers. 2.) I started with percent first. Smaller number. Then big number. Again, spoon feed. With number stories, especially enrollment stories, think about the best way a reader can digest a story.


Excellent life page today. EXCELLENT. Enjoyed the Fluffy story but would have loved more UTA students talking.

Dunkin Donuts — great! (Though, where were MY doughnuts?) Great story, however, I thought Shakeela Hunter’s part just came out of nowhere. It would have been nice to have that story not jump, with the Shakeela part be an online extra.

Alright, guys. Full critique is on the board. As always my door is open.

Onward and upward!



This entry was posted in Training by Icess Fernandez Rojas. Bookmark the permalink.

About Icess Fernandez Rojas

Icess is a writer, professor, and blogger. She is a graduate of Goddard College's MFA program. Her work has been published in Rabble Lit, Minerva Rising Literary Journal, and the Feminine Collective's anthology Notes from Humanity. Her nonfiction has appeared in Dear Hope, NBCNews.com, HuffPost and the Guardian. She is a recipient of the Owl of Minerva Award, a VONA/Voices of Our Nation Arts Foundation alum, and is also a Kimbilio Fellow. She's currently working on her first novel.

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