Chapter 10 brought me back to your writing classes when we learned how to create and use infographics. I saw the impact of infographics when I made one to accompany my sexual assault article and since then, I have a greater appreciation for them.
Unfortunately, they can be time consuming to make because often times, you have to do some research to include statistics on the graphic and the process of making them can be tedious. That’s why we didn’t create very many for The Roar. But if someone has the time to make one, they really do a great job of reinforcing information.
I really liked the concept of multimedia graphics. From a viewer standpoint, that would be cool to see an infographic with audio aspects and interactivity. But from a creator’s standpoint, I’m sure that would take a lot of dedicated time to make.
Chapter 6 was interesting in that it gave great tips for layout. It’s really overwhelming to look at a blank InDesign document and know where you want to place things unless you have a very clear vision for what you’re doing.
Until I took graphic design, I didn’t understand the importance of choosing how many columns to have, what size margins to use, incorporating visual hierarchy and things of that sort. Even now, I still struggle with deciding upon those things because sometimes it’s difficult to see the importance of those aspects until you start trying to design.
With The Roar, we have a very basic layout that we pretty much continually reuse. I do wish that we would have branched out more with our layout, but with such a small team, that was difficult to do. I’m hoping with this magazine that we can get more creative with the layout.
Chapter 9 was information that I wish I would have known when I first began working in design. Photos can be so beneficial to a design, but only if used properly. If a photo is stretched or made too small, it can ruin the entire message that you’re trying to communicate simply because it looks that bad.
The book mentioned stock sites and places to get photos, but I say always stick to original photography. Copyright laws are just too risky to break, so I don’t like to take my chances.
But I really do love the use of photography in design because so often, photos speak way louder than words. In my capstone print ad and poster, I let the picture be the most powerful part of the ad because it had the capability to make people more emotional than words ever could.
Typography is something that I came to appreciate once I began designing. You don’t think about how much font can affect the way a message is communicated until you start paying close attention to what fonts are being used for what purpose.
In graphic design, I did an entire project on the typeface, Futura. I learned a lot and it’s pretty amazing how much work goes into creating a typeface. Futura is one of my favorites because it’s simple and legible with a modern feel. I also really like Baskerville because it’s also very legible but has a classic, more traditional and almost romantic feel.
Neither of those fonts are used in The Roar, but I actually don’t mind the fonts that are included in our style guide. I do, however, wish there was more to choose from. I really loved how this chapter gave tips based upon what publication you’re working with. I think we should refer to the book when we are choosing our font for the magazine. It’s important that our body copy be a legible font in the right size, but for our headlines to be cool enough that they’re engaging to readers.
Reading chapter 8 was interesting because when it comes to design, I haven’t gotten to play around with a lot of color. Most of what I’ve worked with has been black and white. I agree with the book when it says that color evokes emotion and that it can organize the page. Color really can make someone feel a certain way and we need to make sure that we choose the right colors for our magazine. I also think that we should come up with a color scheme (not including photos, obviously) so that the color has a chance to organize the magazine. That way, it’s easier on the viewer’s eyes. Since most of our magazine revolves around food and nature, we should choose our colors based upon what reflects those subjects.
Chapter 4 was a review of what we talked about today in class. Many of the sins I learned about in graphic design class while others I picked up on after using InDesign for a while. The one thing I did learn from this chapter was how to bullet. That will come in handy in the future, so I’m glad I learned that.
The design sin that I hate most would probably be tacky type elements. I can’t stand when a page layout has a million different typefaces, fonts and other types of emphasis. In my opinion, simplicity is key when designing, so I like the text to flow really well and not be over dramatic.
I also have a strong hate for warped photos. They’re so ugly and make it seem like you have no clue what you’re doing when designing.
I really enjoyed chapter 5 because it gives great tips in one short chapter. In graphic design class, we did mini projects that challenged us in each one of the elements listed in this chapter. That exercise was a great way to think outside the box in terms of different design elements and how each can bring something totally different to a design.
I particularly enjoyed the project that we did on scale. For this project, we had to think of two opposing words, such as big and small or loud and quiet, and use scale to portray a message to viewers. The design had to be in black and white and in a simple typeface so that all we focused on was scale. This project was really fun and I realized how useful playing with scale can be in design.
Playing around with things is the best way to learn how these elements work best. And sometimes, you do something on accident and it ends up looking good.
Chapter 7 of Lieb was a review of a lot of the things we learned in comm law class. Concerns about privacy and copyright infringement are really important to address because if you break the laws in place regarding them, you could be in serious trouble. There was one time that I unintentionally violated copyright rules by using a picture off of the internet in the newspaper, even though I gave them credit. Someone emailed DVC about it, and I thought that I was going to be in a lot of trouble. Obviously, it was an accident so I wasn’t, but it’s important to know the rules.
Chapter 8 also addressed a topic that was discussed in our comm law class. Ethics are so important in journalism because so often we’re faced with ethical dilemmas about what to run or not to run, and we must know where we stand in order to make those calls. Because this profession doesn’t have a code of ethics, specific newsrooms and workplaces in this field should have one of their own so that their employers know where the company stands on certain matters. Individuals should also have a personal code of ethics so that he or she can decide whether or not a workplace is somewhere that they can work and still live with their choices.
Even with the experience that I’ve had in design for the newspaper and taking graphic design, chapter 14 brought up points that I’ve never considered before. Choosing the right paper and printer is really important, and it definitely depends on your end goal for the publication as to what you choose. The book talked about swatch books that show you examples of different paper options, and I wish that we could have one of those for our publication in this class. It’s nerve racking to print with an unfamiliar company after putting so much work into a publication. Having a swatch book would make things so much easier.
I really liked how the book had pages dedicated to describing different types of paper and the explanations of when it’s best to use each. It also showed examples of paper folds and binding types. All of it was visual, which helped me to understand what each is. Lastly, the printer checklist was really helpful and I think we should refer back to it before we send our publication to print.
The very first thing that I read in this book was that it is dedicated to Starbucks baristas, so I automatically like this book way more than the other.
I really love how many photos this book incorporates because when you’re reading about design, you really need to see examples to fully understand the concepts. The book is also designed very well, which if it wasn’t, I would be concerned.
But anyways, the first chapter brought up a lot of things that I learned in the graphic design class that I took last semester. Until you take a design course, you never really think about all of the ways that design and typography impact your daily life. It’s almost as if we take it for granted because we come across it so much. But when you actually take the time to notice how much design we’re exposed to every minute of every day, you realize how important visual communication is in our world.
Chapter two touched on the process of design, which in my experience, can be frustrating. When you’re given an assignment from a client, you have to do a lot of research and brainstorming to come up with a design that will please them. My least favorite part of the design process is doing the sketches, but Professor Botts made us do five sketches per week, so I got used to it after some time. Despite how annoying it may be, sketching really can help you develop your design vision.
Chapter three gave great tips about layout because when I first began using InDesign, I was really intimidated about choosing the amount of columns, margin sizes and things of that sort. But most times, you can use the standard ones that this book listed. Personally, I don’t really like to use a specific recipe for layout because I would rather start playing around and see what looks good, rather than try and be really technical about it.
As I read chapter 10, it was overwhelming to think of one person doing all of the creating and editing. Most of our Roar staff does that, but we don’t create extra things like what this chapter was talking about. I’m not afraid of hard work, but it just seems like the journalism world is constantly expecting more out of employees, and I feel like that’s a huge task for one person to take on. This standard of one person being able to do a million things is all because of the digital environment.
I love online content as a consumer, but as a producer, it can become so demanding. I struggle with that when it comes to The Roar because people want stuff all the time, but as a student, I can’t primarily dedicate my life to updating our website. Thankfully, WordPress allows me to schedule things, which has helped us stay more relevant, but I still think we should be doing better. As the same time though, how can one student do all that on their own?
Chapter 11 was pretty relatable to me as an editor. This semester I’ve had to copyedit the paper while also keep up with capstone and my other classes. That hasn’t been an easy balancing act, and I’ve found myself triage editing more times than one. It’s not something that I do every time, but in reality, it happens more than it should.
It could be a good idea for The Roar to have a checklist for triage editing like the book suggests so that by the time an article reaches the copyeditor, it’s at least edited for the basic things. The model that the book gives for that checklist is pretty helpful, and may be useful in the future when a younger student has to step up as editor.
The second meeting with my writers went really well. Caitlin had sent me her story earlier last week to look at for revisions and then once again on Friday after she had made those corrections, which I thought showed great initiative.
After reading both of their stories, I am very impressed with how well they write as freshmen. The only corrections I had were technical things and AP style stuff. Caitlin’s story was a bit long, so I suggested that she cut down on some of the information that she gave in certain parts of her story.
Both of them struggled with grammar things, especially commas. They both missed some AP style things also, like referring to people by their last name and certain spellings. But I told them that AP style is something that takes time to get used to and they’ll become more familiar with it as they go.
Nathan is an exceptional writer and I’m pretty sure he had experience writing for his high school paper, which showed through in his article. He missed a few things, but it was all technical. His article flowed very nicely and had a great headline from the start.
I’m really proud of both of these writers because they made the deadline as well as wrote great pieces on two very interesting professors. I’m glad to be their editor and am confident that they’ll both receive stellar grades on this assignment.
After reading chapter 2, I considered a side of journalism that related a lot to advertising, which I had never done before. This chapter talked about how it’s no longer as easy as being a general interest publication due to all of the competition that’s out there. Because of that, finding a niche subject brings publications more success these days. When you do that, you must consider your target audience if you want people to read your product.
Target audience is a term that I have always related much more to advertising than journalism. When I write, I do think about who will read it, but that doesn’t necessarily change the way that I write it, especially because I fall into the target audience of who reads my work. However, when you’re writing for a niche audience, it’s important to consider what they want to read when writing. I think that might be a hard transition for me to make when I begin a career because if I work for a magazine that older people read, I’ll have to adjust the style that I write to an extent.
Chapter 9 reiterated the importance of engaging your audience. It’s hard to do because of all the distractions that are available to us, but it can be done. The tips that were in this chapter for engaging were really helpful. I wasn’t surprised that social media was a major factor in engagement because it allows for so many interactivity opportunities and that’s what people want. They want to put their input when they see a video or read an article. I think that The Roar has gotten a basis of engagement on social media, but there is still a lot of growing to do.
I actually really enjoyed meeting and getting to know Caitlin and Nathan today. We first talked about who they are planning on profiling and then we discussed their plan of action for getting the interview scheduled.
I learned that neither of them have ever done an interview for a story so I gave them some tips and explained my process for interviews. I told them some things that I’ve found to be successful, but that ultimately, every writer is different. I suggested scheduling the interview for this week so that they have a good amount of turn around time.
I also told them it’s a good idea to prepare questions before the interview but to be prepared to come up with follow up questions based off of what the interviewee says. I showed them the example of my profile story on DVC so that they could get an idea of what a feature story looks like.
Neither of them had too many questions, but I shared my number and email with them in case they have questions as they go. They both seem very ready to tackle the story and I’m confident that they’ll do a great job.