Field Notes: Los Angeles Times

Los Angeles Times
29 Jan 2012

Los Angeles Times, SUNDAY PAPER (Jan 29)

  • Wraps/skews: Text that wraps around a photo or artwork
    • This paper is constantly using text wraps. The variation in photo size makes it hard to have distinct rows of text for the whole paper. The text wrap works because it draws attention to the photograph or artwork first, builds interest in the story, and hopefully pulls the reader in to continue on reading.
  • Rules: a printing term for a straight line; usually produced with a roll of border tape.
    • The LA Times uses rules all over the paper, from beginning to end. Rules help the paper (which is full of ads) stay organized and cohesive. Each rule distinguishes each story from one another. The rules are also used to highlight bylines, which is effective because between the headlines and text, the byline can often times get swallowed up.
  • Section Flags: The name of each section of the newspaper as they are displayed on subsequent pages.
    • Each section of the LA Times SUNDAY paper is color coded, unlike a paper like USA Today, which boasts color-coding as signature piece of the publication. The LA Times Sunday edition uses a beige-orange for its California section flag, teal for the Sports section flag, and red for the Calendar section’s flag.
    • The Sunday paper is also the LA Time’s biggest edition, so the use of color on their section flags gives the Sunday paper for “glitz”. However the flags on each section are not in the typeface as the flag on A1. The section flags are in a typical font resembling Helvetica or Times New Roman. The size of the flag is about the same as A1 so that the reader knows that a new section has started however, the distinction between typefaces effective in showing the hierarchy among the subsequent sections and A1.
  • Bylines & credit lines: the reporter’s name usually at the beginning of the story.
    • On A1 the bylines vary in that a couple of them are displaying with a top and bottom rule, above and below, the writer’s name. However there are also bylines that hover in “white space” and have no rules around them at all. This same feature holds true for the rest of the paper because the reporter’s name at the beginning of the story is seen with a rule above and below.
  • Screens: a pattern of tiny dots used to create grey areas. Screens are not seen frequently in this Sunday edition of the times. On A1 the is a grey rule underneath the flag and the LA Times website is displayed in using a grey color. This is different from the rest of the paper which shows the rule underneath the folios as black with the publication’s web address also in black.
  • Cutline: Line or block of type providing descriptive information about a photo.

There are very few cut lines A1. The cut lines that are used or no more than one line in length. Cut lines found on other pictures throughout the paper vary between having a descriptive block of text, to one single line, as seen on A1.

  • Folios: Type at the top of an inside page giving the newspaper’s name, date and page number.

The folios used in the LA times follow the same typeface style as the flag used on the front page. What’s unique about the folios from page to page is that there is a small star place either to the left or right of the flag. Also, the page number is set in a bigger size than any other part of the folio, which makes sense so that the pages are easily found. The folio is a great example of how to reinforce the design scheme throughout the paper. It makes paper’s name more recognizable.

  • Pull quotes or lift out quotes: The graphic treatment of a quotation taken from a story.
    • ~What is interesting to me about pull quotes in the LA Times is that there really aren’t that many. Aside from the front page you will very seldom see that there are pull quotes used to accompany stories. Only one of the front page stories uses pull quotes and the one that is used isn’t even quotes, so it comes off as being more like a “pull paraphrase”.
    • Pull quotes are typically used as an added way of pulling the reader in, however, with the LA times there are strong headlines that substitute for other “eye catchers” that may not be used in the paper.
  • Jump lines & continuation lines
    • a. Continuation line: Type telling the reader that a story continues on another page.
    • b. Jump line: Type telling the reader that a story is continued from another page.
      • The continuation & jump lines are set off by and closed with brackets. A one word description is in bold followed by a comma, and then another bracket. The small indication that the story continues, or has continued, from another text is effective because it directs the reader clearly without smothering the story.
  • Nameplates (flag): The name of a newspaper as it’s displayed on Page One.

The flag of LA Times has that “old time” medieval typeface, which is similar to the New York Times and various other well known newspapers. I think the typeface gives the paper a certain historical feel, which makes it seem more credible. The writing is clear and easy to read. From far away the typeface is recognizable.

-Chablé Bracken