The format of The Washington Post (WP) is broadsheet. This particular format is the largest for newspapers. Dimensions for broadsheet newspapers are about 15 inches wide and 223⁄4 inches long.
The WP uses a six-column grid design. This distinct grid format shows six columns across the page.
The design of The WP is modular. All articles are meticulously arranged in a very organized manner. All articles in the A1 section, along with their headlines, pictures, and bylines, are all together. The design is very linear. Articles or headlines do not stray into the space or area of other articles. Each “module” has its own topic, and everything belonging to that topic (heads, decks, photos …) is grouped together.
The purpose of the front page is to give the reader the most important information of the day. If the average citizen were to pick up The WP and just skim the front page, they would get the most important news for that day. The front page also functions as a sort of “bait” for those who do not read the publication on a regular basis. Articles and images on the front page catch people’s attention.
The front page is different than the rest of the newspaper because it features a larger nameplate than the rest of the newspaper’s pages. There are also rarely any advertisements on the front page of The WP. The front page is the first thing readers see when they pick of The WP, so it should be different and stand out from other pages.
The front page of The WP is made up of the nameplate, which is the most prominent on the page. The folio is featured beneath the nameplate and features the weather, the date, the website, and the price. Refers and teasers are also featured at the bottom of the page. The WP also uses boxes and lines to organize content on the front page. The photographs that The WP chooses to display on their front-page are also another design element that comprises this page.
Information is organized mainly using the six-column grid system. It is also organized by modules. When looking at the front page of the WP, the layout is very clean and orderly. It is not hard to distinguish what goes with what on the front page. Every article and its components are grouped together. Headlines stand out from the rest of the page because they are bold and bigger than the rest of the text. Lines and boxes break up the information and make it easy to read.
Elements of the front page are arranged in order of importance. Usually the most important articles are towards the top of the page, above the fold. These articles are coupled with headlines and pictures. Refers and teasers are positioned at the bottom of the page. In order to read these full articles, readers must flip to the inside of the newspaper.
The front page of The WP has a very serious tone to it. With the design being very linear, it can seem very straightforward. Articles have the tone of severe importance. First thought when I see the front page of The WP is boring, direct information. I see most of the news presented here as dull and dry. The main tone of the front page is information. Everything presented here has importance to the reader.
The WP’s headquarters is in the nation’s capital, Washington, DC, so most of the content on the front page is most of the time political reporting. The main audience for this newspaper is the east coast area of the US. On an average day, articles on A1 are about the U.S. government and other political endeavors in the U.S.
Other than the political reporting, front-page WP articles are very serious and “newsy.” Articles in The WP are very informative. The message is one of being an informed citizen. These articles feature information the average citizen should know, or at least be aware of. With the front-page articles setting the tone for the rest of the newspaper, the message it sends is that by reading this particular publication, the reader will know more than one who does not read the publication.
Photos on the front page play a vital role in the portrayal of A1 articles. Most photos on the front page of The WP are very animated or show some sort of action. One purpose of photos is to better illustrate the words of the article. Words can do but so much for a reader. If there is an accompanying visual or photo, the reader is able to connect with the story more. Another purpose of these visuals is to catch the average citizen’s attention. If there is a photo that draws someone in, they may be more likely to buy the newspaper and/or read the article.
From issue to issue, The WP keeps the layout of A1 consistent. There is always one story that is portrayed as the most important on the page. A bigger image or a longer text section of the particular article shows this. The front page also shows what is inside the newspaper from issue to issue. This is always featured at the bottom of the page and includes 1-2 images. The look of the front page also stays consistent. Headlines, text and images are always featured in their linear, modular format.