Our next interesting example of news presentation comes from the tiny 18,603-circulation Times-News of Twin Falls, Idaho.
Editor Josh Awtry — a design guy from way back — did something cool on his Sunday opinion cover. He tells us:
For a paper our size, we’re still really lucky to have that as a weekly cover — it’s allowed us to really be a community discussion point of late. It’s often a wire centerpiece with a local editorial and column, but I’ve been trying to keep the local editorial as the big thing on the page as often as possible.
I thought it would be fun to take one of the many press releases we get and fact-check it.
Here’s the into to the piece:
Every day, the Times-News gets dozens of press releases. They come to us from stores, musicians, and politicians, all looking for free publicity for their event or platform. Most of the time, we’re happy to lend them some space, but we also like to check all releases for both spin and accuracy before we publish them. In the interest of transparency, here’s a look at a recent release from Sen. Mike Crapo, R-Idaho. In this case, the release is accurate, although much of the data is represented to look scarier than it might actually be.
What follows is a point-by-point addressing of nearly each sentence of the release. Click for a readable version:
The release was very accurate, numerically, but the statistics were crunched in such a way as to mark the increases in as big a way possible.
Again — all true — but still worth explaining to readers in a way that made more sense with context and details that made the tax information seem less dire.
So far, reader feedback has been very positive.
The design itself could have used more time, but I spent most of the time allotted writing and double-checking our data.
Here’s the entire page:
The best part of the process — and a reflection on what an awesome team I have here — was when I asked our chief photographer to shoot a plain white piece of paper on a white background for the basis of the photo illo, and he didn’t even bat an eye.
Josh recently stepped up to create an illustration for page one — not something most top editors can do. Find that here. And back in July, Josh redesigned the Times-News with his pal Colin Smith of the Salt Lake Tribune. Read about that here.
A 1998 graduate of Hastings College in south central Nebraska, Josh spent two years as a copy editor, entertainment editor and one-man graphics staffÂ at the Independent in Grand Island, Neb. In 2000, he became design director for the Sun News in Myrtle Beach, S.C. Three years later, he moved back to Grand Island to serve as managing editor for presentation.
Josh moved to the Salt Lake Tribune in 2004 as assistant managing editor. He moved to the Times-News in February.