Production & Design

Getting the most from your time with ideas for design, photography, advertising, etc.

 

I love you guys

December 1, 2019

I’ve been a consultant for 30 years ... a newspaper editor and manager for 20 years before that. At the end of this year, I’ll retire — officially and for good. It’s been a wonderful, exciting ride and I’ve been blessed in so many ways. But now it’s time for me to walk away from that part of my life and turn my attention to Julia, family, friends and guitar. 

So, here’s my last column for you, reprised from a few years back. I can’t leave my life as a consultant behind me without telling you once again how much you matter to me.

Metro offers shortcuts to help newspapers increase digital traffic

December 1, 2019

Looking for new ways to drive audience and advertiser engagement online? Here are a few ideas — and time-saving shortcuts — your publication can use to start generating increased interest and revenue: 

Ward

Lee Enterprises and TownNews partner with Google News Initiative to develop paywall technology

December 1, 2019

In a rapidly expanding digital universe, maximizing the value of unique content presents a great challenge. For years, publishers have struggled to balance the need to maintain and grow their online news audiences with the desire to assign fair value to their exclusive local content through the use of a paywall. Lee Enterprises — a media company that operates digital and print publications in 50 U.S. markets in 20 states — is taking a new approach to paywalls, and they are partnering with Google to develop the technology.

The Perfect Tree

December 1, 2019

Every year, for those of us who prefer real Christmas trees, the search is on for the perfect tree. It needs to be tall, but not too tall. It needs to be full, but not too full, and it helps to have a flat spot on one side so it can fit up against the wall. And no matter what it looks like, it always smells like Christmas. 

However, the one quality that doesn’t make the list is fiber quality, but when you’re picking out the perfect tree for newsprint making, that’s at the top of the list. 
When considering tree species for making newsprint, two fiber traits are of particular importance: fiber length and inherent brightness. 

Great ideas abound at NNA convention

November 1, 2019

In explaining my work, I sometimes say that there are thousands of really good journalists in rural America, but all too often, they are the only person in their newsroom that fits that description. They suffer from the isolation of rurality, with fewer opportunities than urbanites to rub shoulders and exchange ideas with their professional peers.

That observation applies to independent rural publishers, too. They might attend state newspaper meetings, but there’s nothing like the National Newspaper Association convention, where editors and publishers from New England, the North Woods, the Great Plains, the Corn Belt, the Deep South, the Intermountain West, the Pacific Coast and other regions exchange ideas. That’s especially important for the approximately one-third of weekly newspapers not owned by groups, which can be sources of ideas (and instruction). Get them together, and they love to help each other.

Scarecrow offers unlikely reminder of the importance of the design team

November 1, 2019

Outside the Gazette’s front window is a scarecrow. He’s decked out in an old flannel shirt and is sitting on top of one of my daughter’s old bicycles. The scarecrow holds a newspaper satchel, with a number of old newspapers inside, ready to be delivered to Gazette readers.

We built the scarecrow as part of a community project. Every year, the Galena Center for the Arts sponsors this project with more than 30 scarecrows throughout the community. The tagline: “Art that stands out in its field.”

This year, the scarecrow also provided a new opportunity for us; the center asked us to design a map. The center emailed out our map with a press release. Our logo is on the bottom of the map.

You’ll never hear me say…

October 1, 2019

Thirty years is a long time for a career as a consultant. It’s time for me to shift my attention to Julia, family, grandkids and guitar. I’m not the “retiring type,” but I will become so at the end of this year.

For the past few months, I’ve reprised some of my best columns from the past years. 

This one focuses on things a good designer should never say.

Pulp Nonfiction: The Canadian dollar also rises

October 1, 2019

Consider oil price, market indications while budgeting for 2020

Scenes of flames from a bold drone attack on Saudi oil facilities by Yemen’s Houthi rebels generated opinions from pundits about Middle-East politics, U.S.-Iran relations, and how new technologies like drones are changing the modern battlefield. Not surprisingly, there was no commentary about its effect on newsprint prices. 

As newspapers consolidate operations, weeklies work together to stay in print

October 1, 2019

Despite having to find a new printer for his newspapers on short notice, Kirk Kern considers himself lucky.

Last July, Kern, the chief operating officer of Battle Born Media in Boulder City, Nevada, received a 30-day notice that the Salt Lake Tribune in Salt Lake City was cutting back its printing services. The Tribune had printed four of Battle Born’s six newspapers over the last decade. Battle Born’s other two newspapers are printed by Swift Communications in Carson City.

Newspaper scores big with community partnership

September 16, 2019

SmallTownPapers, Inc. is pleased to announce it has completed the digitization of The Issaquah (Washington) Press and its predecessor The Issaquah Independent, giving the community online access to the documented history dating back to the newspaper's founding nearly 120 years ago in this small town 30 miles outside of Seattle.

The Issaquah Press began digitizing its archives with SmallTownPapers 14 years ago, but was only able to scan a representative portion from each decade. Fast forward a dozen years when SmallTownPapers re-engaged the newspaper, along with the local historical society, with a goal of completing the project. The nonprofit Issaquah History Museums was as eager as the newspaper to have archives digitally preserved and, more importantly, made easy to access and search online, so they included scanning in their capital campaign.

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