How A1 is made

Late breaking news can be the bane of an editor’s and designer’s existence. Here’s how: After several staff meetings, you have an idea of what’s in the news and you plan the day’s front page when, out of nowhere, the newsroom’s alerted to a Grade A, above-the-fold breaking news story. Crumple up those plans and toss ’em — you’re starting over. That’s what happened last Tuesday, in the newsroom of The New York Times and many others, when President Trump abruptly fired FBI Director James Comey. The Times writes about these processes from time to time (like, when it prepared for the U.S. to elect its first woman president). As for last Tuesday, the Times made a unique (widely praised) decision to run an image of the actual termination letter as dominant art. “It helped tell the story in a way that was much more explicit,” The Times’ creative director said.

Super photogenic, huh?

It’s a grind: It’s hard to find a good, usable photo of POTUS, isn’t it? And when we say “good” and “usable” we mean one that makes it look like the president actually enjoys his job. That’s because the current administration doesn’t seem to value the old picture-worth-1,000-words way of thinking, in that President Trump hasn’t hired a chief photographer to think about imagery 24/7. In fact, WIRED reported news photographers aren’t allowed the space, equipment or opportunity to capture appealing images. This is real: the White House may not bring in manufactured lighting (for better photos) because strobes wash out Trump’s hair.

Teen mags have opinions, too

Think Teen Vogue is a niche magazine? Think again. Though some readers thought Teen Vogue writer Lauren Duca had gone beyond her depth with a scathing criticism of the president in December, The Atlantic’s Julia Carpenter recently reported Duca’s editorial aligns with the genre’s general direction. Teen magazines are building bigger online audiences by expanding their coverage of cultural issues and politics, a practice they’ve been working on for years. “Teen magazines are supposed to be about clothes and glamour and summer jobs and relationship advice, right? Actually, wrong,” Carpenter writes.

How scandals start

Watergate crawled back into the national conversation last week, following the generally-fishy Comey firing. But really, this has been coming for a while. A lot was said about emails and private servers during the campaign, then accusations of tapped phones. Finally, there was the termination letter and tweets to follow referencing private conversations and possible secret recordings of said meetings. (I’m probably missing something) It all sounds very 1970s, except the whole emailing and tweeting thing, right? Maybe there’s nothing to this latest scandal. But for journalists, it’s confirmation that technology is still at the center of political scandals. Just maybe not Xerox machines so much any more.

This also happened last week: Designing a new font, or just like typography? Here are some of the weird test words and phrases designers use to put their fonts through the ringer.