Field Notes – Words

Word use is one of the most important aspects of a news publication. The types of word’s used can reflect a specific emotional appeal to the reader. It helps to display a certain tone and personality to each article and to the publication as a whole. Although I cannot read what is written in Expresso, you can still tell a lot about this publication based on how the words are used. Although it sometimes presents a challenge to fully understand this publication due to the language barrier, it is very interesting to me to learn about this publication about it through just looking at its design and not being biased by what is actually written.

In order to determine the types of words used within Expresso, I looked at numerous publications spread out over time to get the overall habits and understanding.

A large majority of the headlines used on the A1 range from three to four lines long. They seem to be mostly summaries, and are straight to the point. Within the publication, headlines are once again mainly summaries that all include decks. Each headline generally uses the standard banner headline format. Each deck is approximately two lines long, sometimes below the headline and sometimes above. Other variations of headlines and decks (they like to mix it up a lot depending on the article) include longer headlines as well as decks that can be up to five lines long. Another headline option I noticed Expresso uses is a smaller saddle head banner when the article includes graphics. Each headline seems to be longer phrases rather than sentences. I did not see any eye-catching hammer headlines.  The large amount of white space used to separate the headline/decks from the actual article really makes the headlines stand out. There is always a large amount of white space below the headline and also separating the deck from the article.

Pull quotes within Expresso are not very common. There are only about four-five throughout the entire publication. When they are used, they are very simplistic. There is a certain style used for every pull quote so the reader can easily determine where they are. Each pull quote uses one set of bolded, black quotation marks. The color of the text varies from black, light blue or grey. If there are more than one quote per article, they are boxed together but separated between rules of different widths. Sometimes, a colored box is also used to help the pull quote more easily stand out to the reader.

Cutline’s and captions are used both in the tradition, below the photo/graphic style, or incorporated on the reverse within the photo. Each caption is about two lines of text. They are straightforward and to the point. Occasionally they are placed to either the right or left of the photo and are a few lines long. These captions are possibly acting like a longer deck? There are also some special cutline’s that receive a special about the headline treatment colored in Expresso’s signature blue and black text.

Expresso’s bylines and credit lines are also very direct and to the point. Bylines are positioned at the end of a story, center aligned. It does not include the word “By”, and is rather just the authors name slightly more bolded than the body copy. The byline also includes either the authors email address or their title (not bolded). A wider horizontal rule is also used below the byline to signify to the reader where the article ends.

There are a large variety of sections within the publication. These section labels include the general ones seen in many newspapers such as Opinion, Crisis, Employment, Environmental, International and Sports, as well as other not so generic labels such as Holidays, surveys and interviews, elderly, contestation, presidential and a special section for the European Competition. The large amount of individual sections is good for those readers who only like to easily find and jump to a particular type of news. Each section name is very simple and generic. Certain sections are made more important and stand out more than others by having a very wide horizontal blue rule stretched across the top of the section. Other sections that do not have the colored rule have a bolded blue section label located at the upper top left corner of the section.

The promos are also located on the front page on the lower right hand side.  Each includes a short, colorful, simple phrase, followed by a page or section number. Each promo is separated with rules of different widths. Occasionally, some promos include colorful, cutout images. The front page of Expresso also includes a special section always located on the left hand side called 24houres that highlights all of the important news. “24h” is also kind of like a promo section that highlights what is going to be inside the newspaper.

michelepaolella