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Field Notes – The Washington Post

  • A nameplate is the title of a newspaper in the style it appears on the front page. Most often, the nameplate appears on the top of the page and is also known as the logo. At first glance, the nameplate of The Washington Post (WP) describes the newspaper’s style. Articles are straight and to the point. The classic typeface of the nameplate also demonstrates the history of the newspaper which has been around since 1877. The WP nameplate may deter readers because of this classic style. The typeface is old-fashioned and can make the paper seem boring to today’s readers.

  • Folios are the type beneath the nameplate. They usually include volume and issue numbers, copyright line, date and page. The folio of The WP includes the date, the newspaper’s website, the price, and the day’s weather. What makes The WP’s folio stand out from other publications’ is the inclusion of the weather for the day. This appeals to readers who want to know right away what the weather will be. Readers are also able to open to the exact page the weather is on because it is shown in the folio.

  • Bylines include the name of the writer of an article. Credit lines include the name of the photographer that shot the picture. Bylines in The WP are very much differentiated from the type in the news articles. Writers’ names are surrounded by spaces at the top and bottom. Their names are also in all capital letters. Credit lines also include all capital letters. By making these names “stick out” from the news stories, there is a sense of importance placed on the writers and photographers. As readers, these are the people we are putting our trust into to deliver accurate information.

  • Refers are previews of news stories that appear elsewhere in the newspaper. The WP’s refers are featured at the bottom of the cover page. For regular readers, this is a feature that allows them to skip to the bottom of the page for stories they may be interested in. The WP also makes sure to bold the first few words in the article descriptions. This also helps with allowing the reader to select stories that they are interested in. By bolding these words, it provides a sort of summary or preview to the news article.


  • A jump line signifies that an article continues to another page in the newspaper. The jump lines in The WP are presented in all caps. They also use bold type to indicate where the story will jump to within the newspaper. Straight lines also separate the news story text from the jump line text. These lines keep with the box and line theme throughout the newspaper. By doing this, The WP makes it easier for readers to continue reading their stories. Under the straight horizontal line, the jump line is presented telling the reader exactly where to go.

  • Sidebars are information placed adjacent to an article in a newspaper. They are graphically separate but have contextual connection to the article. The WP uses varies types of sidebars. Most of them include graphics. The sidebars attract WP readers because they stand out from the regular, sometimes straightforward news stories. These news stories can sometimes be too plain. The sidebars add “life” to the articles.

  • A box is a border around a story or photo in a newspaper. The WP is a big fan of boxes. For this publication, they use boxes to provide structure. Boxes separate the news stories and photographs. For the reader, this provides an ease of read. The eye is able to jump from story to story with no confusion. Without the boxes, it may seem like the news articles are running into each other and could cause frustration among readers.

  • Cutlines are information presented below a picture or art which describes it. The style of The WP’s cutlines varies. Sometimes the publication uses bold type and other times it is regular type. The cutlines have space above and below as to make them stand out from the picture and the news articles. By including a lot of information in cutlines, The WP attracts readers to their photographs. They can often be used as standalone pictures with mini stories attached.


  • Reverse is a printing technique that creates white type on a dark background. The WP rarely uses the reverse technique for its news stories. Most reverses are done for advertisements within the newspaper. Most ads use the technique. The WP may choose not to use this technique because readers may confuse articles with advertisements. By using the reverse for just ads, some may say The WP is placing less emphasis on its news stories.

  • A teaser is an eye-catching graphic element usually on the cover page that promotes an article inside the newspaper. The WP mainly uses teasers at the bottom of the cover page along with the refers. The WP uses photographs as teasers. These photos are suppose to catch the readers’ eyes. The publication doesn’t branch out from using only photographs as their teasers. Also, some of the teasers do not do the job of enticing the reader to open the newspaper to read the story.

brianamurrell

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