Ode to a Grey Box

29 Feb

If you ever find yourself designing a newspaper page, the following tips will help you to fill all of your space while appearing to have sufficient content.

1) You will (almost) never actually have sufficient content. It will either be way too much or way too little. Always.
2) If you have a photograph, stop complaining. Apple-D that bugger and make it as big as it needs to be. A picture’s worth a thousand words!
3) Get your headline in there. Sweet.
4) And now a subhead. Readers love extra information!
5) Obviously there’s something in this article that’s super quotable. Pull quote the heck out of it. Got two super quotable quotes? Life is good.
6) Stick a house ad on your page. There are two very simple possibilities:
     a) Remind everyone to check your website/Twitter/Facebook/blog. They’ll totally do it.
     b) Throw in a gentle nudge encouraging your readers to be environmentally friendly and recycle. Pa no attention that, as print media, you are probably the worst perpetrator of environmental crimes on campus.
7) And then, the grey box. A grey box is an amazing thing. You throw in extra information that is totally relevant to the article and look like you put some extra effort in, when in fact this is an excuse to run your statistics 20 times the size of normal font.
8) If applicable, and absolutely necessary, make a graph. They make your paper look smart and as if journalists actually understand numbers.
If you’re still short on space, now it’s time to start worrying. You’re going to have to research and write a story in less than an hour. You got this.

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