News design is the chore of arranging written content on a paper page, based on textual and graphic guidelines and objectives. Main editorial objectives involve the ordering of news items by date, while graphic considerations include balanced, unobtrusive incorporation of visual advertising and readability. News design often includes the integration of photos or graphics. Designers will work with newspapers, magazines, wire services, online sources and other media to create well-designed, attractive and informative news pieces. The tasks include preparing layouts for specific sections, such as breaking news, sports, entertainment, business, education and political news.
To meet these goals, news design will depend on the skills of a number of individuals. Many newspapers employ graphic designers and marketing specialists, along with copy editors, designers, writers and editors to produce original news content. Some newspapers also outsource tasks like proofreading, writing and editing.
In some large cities, there are professional news design companies that have developed close ties with several newspapers. These companies provide specialized services, such as wedding invitations, color schematics and layout ideas, along with assistance with photo illustrations. Most newspapers allow outside designers to submit proposals for content, photographs, etc., as long as they meet publication guidelines. They then review the proposals and select a few. Most large newspapers have in-house design teams, which are responsible for the development of the front page and other news pages.
A number of talented freelance designers have gained recognition through rigorous training in the newspaper industry. Some of these talented designers began their careers in the newspaper industry after graduating from design college. Arnold Slate, who served as a news editor for several years, worked his way up at the Wall Street Journal before becoming a freelance designer. After getting a master’s degree in graphic design, he went to work for the advertising agency run by his great friend Henry S. Murphy, later becoming a partner at Wiesen Ventures. Eventually, Arnold went into business with himself and became a partner in the firm.
News organizations have been outsourcing news design jobs to a number of talented web design professionals over the years. Web designers are responsible for designing websites for both local and international news organizations. Before the Internet, the role of news designers was often assumed by copywriters. Today, many newspapers and magazines hire web designers from among a pool of graduates and young professionals with a love for computers and design. This has resulted in the increased demand for quality news designers.
The first principle of news design relates to the overall presentation of the site. News stories tend to read like essays, so it is important to consider the length of the story and how effectively it utilizes the first principle of web design: reading gravity. A front page that makes it easy to read will not get many new visitors. On the other hand, a long story designed to attract more detail and offer context will draw readers. The same principle can also be applied to photos: a short article with clear images that draw the eye to an interesting part of the story will make it more likely to hold the attention of the reader long enough for him to read the rest of the story.