Week 4 – Covers & A1

The front page of the New York Times serves as both the cover and A1 of the newspaper. It shows the top stories for the issue regarding news and the bottom has refers to other sections of that days paper like International, Business Day, Sports, National, Arts, New York and Editorial.

The Times uses six columns across with margins around half an inch. The gutters are small and are consistent between columns of the same story and different stories. The only difference with gutters between different stories is a thin line that separates them.

There are usually six stories on the cover with four appearing above the fold and two below the fold above the refers. The main story usually appears in the far right column at the top. It uses the biggest headline format with three lines followed by a one line subhead, followed by a three line subhead. After that, the placement of the second story can vary, but is usually one column to the left. Sometimes, depending on visuals, the placement is on the far left.

There is usually a dominant image at the top of the page. Sometimes it is relevant to a story on A1 and sometimes it is separate. That’s denoted by the appearance or absence of a line separating the photo box from an adjacent story.

Headlines vary in thickness and size, which gives a certain emphasis to different stories and when coupled with amount of lines, shows a hierarchy.

The tone of the front page is informational in a “you should know these events” way. It’s authoritative and sends a message that this is the paper of record through its consistency day-in and day-out.

Consistency is maintained by keeping the main story in the same place, using the same amount of space for headlines and always running a prominent picture above the fold. This consistency goes all the way to the sixth story on the page taking up on a small box with two columns a couple inches long that leads to a different page.

The strengths are the cover’s consistency and its familiarity. You’ll rarely be confused above a hierarchy for information in the Times. The weakness is that you can’t get a full story on A1. You’ll usually have to open up the large paper and search inside for A8 or A13 etc. to find the continuation.