National Post – Words

Outside of bodycopy, the National Post uses words sparingly. Most headlines are only a maximum of about four or five words. The paper really tried to get its message across in the quickest way possible. Reducing the nubmer of words in a headline helps the Post both increase the size of the headline text and include more body copy with the headline. This really helps with readability. Not only does the reader have to deal less with jump heads that come early in a story, but a person passing by a newspaper stand on the street can read most of the headlines in passing. Keeping headlines brief helps to grab the audience’s attention by telling them right away what the story is about. Decks and subheads are used sometimes and left out other times. This newspaper makes changes to its front page layout relatively often to accommodate the attitudes of different stories on different days.

The National Post does use pull-quotes. These pull-quotes are placed over a large, light gray or blue pair of begin quotation marks. They are not attributed and function as a tease to get readers to begin that story. It is not at all uncommon for these quotes to contain elipses that shorten the quote and allow the paper to devulge the basic message of the quote without eating up a lot of space on the page.

Like a lot of the Post’s features, the bylines, cutlines, captions and credit lines are all very short and straightforward. In fact, bylines do not make any mention of the reporter’s job title. Rather, they only reveal the author’s name and nothing more.

Promos and refers are fun in the National Post. They usually use more color than the rest of the paper are seem to function as a kind of creative window for the paper’s designers. They tend to deal less with hard news and more with entertainment-type stories. I think this works. Together with the hard news on the front page, the paper’s top page draws in people looking to read about a wide array of subjects.

For all of its uniquities, the National Post is, above all else, straightforward. This applies to department names as well. The Post prefers traditional, simple section names over more creative options.

Heather Norris