Bad Journalism + Biased Editor = The Gray News

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Is the Gray News on a diet?

Newspapers can be categorized as 'tabloids' or 'broadsheets.' Tabs are the size of The Monument, Forecaster, The Notes, The Phoenix, the Gray News. Broadsheets are the bigger, wider papers, like American Journal, Bangor Daily. Tabs go up in page count in 4s. A tab can be 16 pages, or 20, 24.

The page count is determined by how many ads a paper has that week, as balanced by their expenses. It costs more to print 24 pages than it does to print 12. If a paper is bringing in $4,000 that week, it can support 16 or 20 pages or more, depending on overhead. Then, the news is filled in around it. A good graphics designer will be able to meld the two and design the pages to capacity with the articles that need to be in and the ads that need to be in. Voila, the paper is filled up.

In the industry, an 8-page paper for a weekly is looked upon as below the radar. It needs to be at least 12 to really come across as a real paper, and not an insert or a newsletter. This week the Gray News was 8 pages, with a lot of "white space". White space is the space between where the article ends and the next one begins. Usually, the Gray News people will stick in some clip art to fool the eye into thinking the paper is filled up, rather than the reality that 3 inches of space was devoid of meaningful content.

Another trick newspaper designers use to fill an otherwise empty paper is to increase the font slightly and to increase the leading and kerning: that's the space between letters and between one line above another. Tweaking those can also help fill a paper that is otherwise devoid of news or ads. The Gray News has been tweaking fonts and kerning, sticking in clip art, and using oversized photos for a while now and managed to hand onto their 12 page count.

Not this week.

They fell below the industry-standard radar to an 8-page paper, and even at that, there was a lot of white space. Many of the "ads" were really freebies. My estimation of the real page count in this week's Gray News was really 6 pages. A tweaked and white-space paper is the first sign...8 pages is the next sign. There are few ads, no news, and 8 pages of white space. Are there really NO businesses in all of the town that want to take out an ad? Did NO news at all occur all whole week? No, of course not. The Gray News is not doing well.


  • They should really go to 12 pages and change their name to The Gray Enquirer as they reflect that type of journalism anyway. Then they can add all their wacko pictures from their blogs. Board, if you want my idea...I won't charge're most of the way there already with your exaggerated and misleading articles anyway.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 1:59 PM  

  • Gray News is as Old and Tired as its Editors and Directors! Time to 'let go' guys~!

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 1:37 PM  

  • DONE!!!!

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 12:27 PM  

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