Today’s Zaman’s (the broadsheet Turkish newspaper) covers function of course as the basic entry point into the paper. Its consistency (something I’ve noted before as one of Zaman’s underlying strengths) allows the reader to access the same information every day simply by looking at the cover. Above the fold there will always be teasers that promote inside stories usually business or politics as well as an even larger promo that at times partially covers the nameplate promoting usually an arts, sports, or human interest story. On the front will also normally be (though not always) a boxed story complete with a large photograph (I will say that I feel one of Today’s Zaman’s weakness is its choice of cover photos- too often they are just portraits of the subject of the lead story and often very dull). At the bottom of the front page there are normally extra promos or refers for more interior stories (normally very localized stories are tagged here).
Today’s Zaman’s cover works on a five-column grid, atypical from the six/ twelve-grid system most papers work with. It is a modular paper with very little overlap in items; each story element can often work as a standalone. The elemental hierarchy of the cover depends upon three things, size, color, and order. The main story is much larger and set in the middle, while the “interesting” stories are highlight with colors and placed at the top and bottom of the page. The stories along the edges are important enough for the front page but are of the least immediate interest to the reader and often lack much design enhancement to draw attention in. The design elements mostly used on the page are teaser, promos, refers, boxes, rules, graphic shapes, and photographs. Each element lends itself to a story to organize and provide hierarchy as mentioned above.
The overall feel, tone, and attitude of the paper is one of business. While the color and graphic elements add a touch of aesthetic beauty and interest to the page they also coincide with the tone of the paper; it is very authoritative, and the red, pale blue, grey, and sage color palette that the paper most often works with lends itself to that authoritative feel and look.
The role of the photos and other visuals are consistent with the paper’s authoritative voice and tend to not be overtly eye-catching, but instead very basic portraits (posed and candid) with only the slightest of subtle movements in pose or picture that sometimes adds more story. These photos should provide more interest, should be an entry point into the written story and should be able to stand alone without the copy, which I feel they do not, instead they seem to just add context. The consistency of the paper is spot on, and like I said last week, while this is a good thing it could potentially be a set back for the paper if they ever accidentally messed up on a page.