This week’s column is a little different, as sometimes happens. Due to the negotiation required with various departments, unconventional pieces can only really be done if you work in the office. For example, our publishing platform isn’t able to build the precise layout I wanted, so it had to be composed by designer Nate Armstrong and dropped into the page as you would an illustration.
Nate came up with the four logos, too. Originally the TV listings ran 15cm deep, which I changed to 20cm – no big deal, since it only made an already unusual page look slightly more unusual. That further compressed the space for Dave Follett’s usually single-panel art, however, so he devised the two-panel manga-Squiggle shown above.
Cutting the art entirely wasn’t an option as the page ran opposite Laurie Oakes’s column, which, because it shares space with the editorial, is difficult to draw in any other way than with the headline at top of page. My page needed art on top to avoid headlines running into each other. As well, with this week’s “column” being built outside of the main editing system, sub-editors and lawyers were unable to gain access. They got print-outs.
All of these non-normal processes eat into production time – everyone involved was, of course, also working on the rest of a 144-page paper – and therefore can’t be too prolonged. There isn’t much chance for revision once the basic elements are settled.
Impressive fact: not once when I’ve come up with these extra-work-for-everybody notions has anyone complained, which might not have been the case 10 or 15 years ago. Newspapers – well, some newspapers; the good ones – are becoming more flexible.