Monday, March 3, 2008

"This is wondrous strange" ~ Hamlet

So we've pretty much spent all year trying to keep with the same style and not stray so far away that we either lose professionalism or bastardize the beautiful simplicity of my newspaper's print edition. One thing I have learned this year, as I've continued to learn in all of my journalistic studies, is that when you try and stick to a set style (whether it be in layout or in interviews) you tend to back yourself into a corner.
Case in point, my newspaper, while it has gotten cleaner and cleaner as far as technicalities, the design has backed itself into a corner by feeling forced to stick with one design. But it was okay because we were sticking to the status quo (essentially not breaking any boundaries) and getting done around 4 am (early by Captain's Log standards).
But status quo was leaving us with basically two or three layout designs that we would recycle our stories through. It got to the point where we have to have the last issue sitting by us in order to make sure that this issue wasn't the same layout, but with different copy and art.
Last night, we finished the issue at around 230 am. Very early, and yet it just didn't pop. I was ready to call it a night and not care that this would be just another weak layout with clean technical details. Thankfully my staff is proving itself ready to step up and took it upon themselves to experiment until around 5 am. Well, I fell in love with the experiment and we decided to keep it. It would have been perfect, and in the end it was perfect, but the computer deleted the file (we'll have to get on fixing that) and we pretty much had to redesign it all in about an hour in a half. Which we did.
I love the layout (if you know me personally please pick up a copy of the paper and let me know how you think it looks) and am so happy to finally be hitting a stride with the staff that isn't about the status quo but more about varying the stride with the end result being a better race (sorry for the horse-racing metaphor).
I must admit I stopped caring about the Captain's Log. I just wanted this year to be over. Now I'm excited to get things going again and really start improving this paper. Sometimes it's the late breaker that really makes the race worth it (again with the horse metaphor!).

And it really is, in the word's of Shakespeare's Hamlet, "wondrous strange" the things you will want to start fighting for when you had given up all hope of making life better. This whole experience has made the creative life of striving seem worthwhile again.

But because this is sure to make you smile I leave you with this:

Visit Exploding Dog because it's awesome...


  1. I love you Beth. Chris showed it to me this morning and I am stoked! I am SO glad that you guys decided to step up the layout. :)