So most people have a very vague sense of what a news designer does on a day to day basis, but it’s mostly because most news designers do lots of things depending on where they work.
It’s especially tough in today’s industry because designers and copy editors aren’t strictly content producers, so often we are placed on the lowest rung of the journalism totem pole.
To combat this, to prove our worthwhileness if you will, we need to be masters of multitasking - listening to the scanner, pumping out illustrations and graphics on the fly, be headline writing geniuses, speed demons, everything and more.
I developed crazy newsroom eyes early in my career as a news designer at Texas Woman’s University.
I know I produce a lot of pages and content in my current position, but thinking back to the newsrooms of my past it’s a little bit crazy to take the time and really think about exactly how much I’m doing compared to I was back then.
Am I doing too much? I don’t know. Probably, but so is every other newsperson I know.
In an effort to clarify what I do specifically (and probably provide some sort of catharsis for my crazy work life) I thought I’d try and write out what I do exactly, page count and all, on every given day of my work week.
It’s also worth mentioning that I guess I’m not your average page designer. My official title is assistant presentation editor and I’m a salaried employee and as part of my job description I have more responsibilities. Mostly though, I’m just a page designer.
Between us smuggling out a live craw fish from a restaurant, keeping the little dude from crawling away during our photo shoot and actually tasting one for the first time, I’d say this week’s Get Out experience was one of the most memorable.
Had two very concept-driven fronts two days in a row this week. On the left is an A1 about a gaming/hobby store that just opened up. My editor was adamant that he didn’t want boring photos of people in the store so I offered to make a board game full of little tidbits about popular games. On the right is the cover to our metro section. The story was suggestions for different Easter basket gifts. The art I was given was shots of books and random musical instruments so I thought I could come up with something a little more creative. I found a picture of an egg, then duplicated it with lots of colors, then illustrated certain eggs that corresponded to the different gift ideas.
I wish I could draw better/was a better artist. Then my concept ideas could go even further.
One of my favorite pages by Paul Wallen. Says Paul…
This week’s Latitudes cover highlighting a travel piece on Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, and the battlefield’s 150th anniversary. I grew up just a few miles outside of Gettysburg, so I really enjoyed working on this. I wanted to do something a little different and started playing around with type-driven ideas. That led me to think about how the G mimics the plateaued boulders of Little Round Top, where the statue of General Warren looks down on the battlefield. And this is where the page ended up.