Friday, January 05, 2007
Pancakes and promos
The News & Observer gives a significant chunk of page 2A to promote stories that will be published in the coming days. Most of the time, these promos run in the bottom right quarter of the page. In the Saturday paper, they rise to the top as "Coming Sunday" items. Either way, the space for the promos comes from news hole, and the newsroom is responsible for them — even though they look and read like advertising.

Like stories, these promos have to be carefully edited and designed, but that doesn't always happen. They're an afterthought in the newsroom. After all, real stories for tomorrow's paper need writing, editing and designing.

That's why the 2A promos are nothing but trouble. This one even required a correction. The promo in question is to a "resolutions" package set to run in the entertainment section later in the week. One of the subjects of the resolutions story is Jim Black, a Democratic lawmaker whose deal-making meeting with a GOP lawmaker at an IHOP restaurant has come under scrutiny. (Here is more on the Black scandal if you are curious.)

The image in the promo of Black in an IHOP smock prompted the correction you see here. No, he's not really wearing that. Yes, it's a manipulated image, and it should have been labeled as a photo illustration.

The correction, however, doesn't explain everything. Which promo text does the image go with? Do the "uncommon threads" of the Alexander Julian exhibit include an ironic IHOP look? If so, why is this guy the model for it? Mentioning Black in the "Showing some resolve" promo would have headed off this confusion, or perhaps adding a cutline would have helped.

Better yet, let the marketing department handle these "coming soon" promos, and let the journalists get the next day's paper out.
posted by Andy Bechtel at 1:10 PM | Permalink |


  • At 1:34 PM, Anonymous Geek Girl

    Your blog and this post are mentioned on Poynter's Romenesko blog: