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PAGINATION EVOLVES: Adventures in Quark and Pagemaker

Spring/Summar 2000 Community College Journalist

Dr. Steve Ames

Issue date: 2/20/01 Section: Summer 2000
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Paste Up... circa 1970s to mid 1980s...

Compugraphic... and before... Written assignments created by editors assignments in, on time and fully edited for grammar, spelling, syntax, punctuation, organization, fact and quote accuracy pencil; photo assignments created to complement the written assignments, and arriving before page dummies were done.

Compugraphic, you remember, was a typesetting system that used bottles of chemicals, produced rolls of type on photosensitive paper, used tons of X-acto knives that constantly disappeared (into the hands of art majors?), boxes of wax, waxer machines and waxing and cutting everything to fit-sometimes cutting and recutting for even across the columns fit.

Photographic film, developing and printing time, wet negatives hanging, printing photos on deadline, sizing photos and hoping a vertical "hole" was planned for an already taken vertical photo.

Oh boy... we miss those days.

Pagination! mid- 1980s, now and beyond...

This is not to say all of the last-minute results of some planning and some non-planning is eliminated... but at least there's no more chemicals down the drain while you hope college of ficials and Cal OSHA don't find out.

The result? Planning by staff is closer to professional newspapers... for the photos and line art and story/page dummying even on deadline. At least, maybe on deadline.

1998: A discussion and unofficial survey of Morro Bay and other advisers showed QuarkXPress was more commonly used than PageMaker. Quark uses a dummy metaphor that is great for teaching design. PageMaker uses a paste-up metaphor that is easy to learn. Changing columns and widths is decidedly easier in Quark, as is vertical justification. A simple click and columns are even!

Also: "Quark -- Has greater typographical control, vertical justification, teaching layout from a design perspective, generally better style sheets, and (of course) industry trend."

FromFall 1987 to Spring 1998, I advised on campuses where PageMaker was exclusively used; Fall 1998, I moved to a campus where Quark was used and this semester as at Moorpark College Quark is also the exclusive page design system. It's been a learning curve with me sometimes thinking how to translate PageMaker to Quark... a mental adventure... something, I suspect, as some of the international students who think first in their home language and translate into English!

The order. It has not changed: Organization must be created so the whole staff can function as one with one goal, producing the best possible publication on time so it can be taken to or handed to the printer for a quick printing and returning the publication for the campus readership.

No less important then:

Story Assignment Forms -- noting the slug line for the assignment, when, where, the angle, notation of a few sources, phone extensions.... the name of the photographer or illustrator/artist, etc.... the more info provided, the greater the likelihood the final assignment will be written as well as it can be. Nothing can be taken for granted!

Photo/graphics Assignment Forms -- Where, when, story angle, people included in the story, pertinent facts, reporter for the story, etc.

A stated deadline on the assignment form so there will be time for a thorough copy editing and time for rewriting, revising, measured for length based on standard column width: It's the content, the readability that the reader will notice above all the glitzy photos, graphics, design!

Dummies are still need to be drawn though it is a hard concept for students to see as being needed. Dummies are a road map for the page designer and should be done in pencil using the assignment sheets--with estimated story length-as a guide. In my opinion, just because we're into the pagination age some things should not be removed from the mix.

Along with learning Quark, all students should learn Photoshop and knowing Illustrator and Excel can't hurt. But in the end, all the technology in the world won't be of much value if why your readers want to read the newspaper is not taken into consideration.

Design should be based on some basic concepts; you can use Tim Harrower's concepts, Mario Garcia's, Ed Arnold's or mine (Elements of Newspaper Design), but some basics of consistent design should be developed and followed re: size and placement of headlines, stories, photos and other art, white space.

TPC works when all elements mesh

What is pagination? I describe it as Total Page Concept -- all elements mesh, they look like they belong on the same page. The elements are the building blocks to a TCP page and the test as to whether the page works--is balanced-is to take the page and literally turn it upside down and look at it from a few feet away.

If it works upside down, it works right side up...something that you can't always see when only looking at the page from right side up. It's an old artist's trick.

At least 15 elements, accessory typography elements, beyond the body/text type headline and drophead type comprise the accessory elements: These included nameplates, section page toppers, bylines, writer I.D. lines, photo/art credit lines, page folios, cutlines for story and stand alone (wild) art, subheads (not enough being used for the longer stories).

Quote outs, read outs, what style?

Also, quote out and read out (the latter for use when citing a sentence in a story not in quotes), continued to and from lines, cap initials and nutgraphs (and are they in the same or different style as for drop head type?).

A simple design style book--with examples-should be created and available for all publications staffs. An easy and fun way to create a design style book if a publication is redesigning is for the adviser to collect newspapers from as many cities as possible.

Students in the design class on the newspaper staff then cut examples of the accessory elements *om the newspapers--the nameplates, bylines, cutlines, etc.--and place them in marked shoe boxes--bylines, cutlines, etc.

Next, students take the shoeboxes and paste the examples on to pieces of 8 1/2- by 11inch paper. The pages are photo copied into enough sets for all the students to have a copy. Examples are selected from the pages...section page toppers, bylines, cutlines, etc. and voted on by the students.

The styles are placed on the Quark or PageMaker stylesheet and the staff is ready to create its own prototype. A few copies of the prototype can be made, the staff can consider refinements and of the new redesigned newspaper, and finally, a staff that likely never knew paste-up will come to produce an even cleaner paginated publication!

* * * * *

Dr. Steve Ames is an adjunct journalism instructor at Moorpark College in California. He has been the recipient of the College Media Advisers Four-Year University Distinguished Newspaper Adviser Award and the California Newspaper Publishers Association University Journalism Educator of the Year Award and is the author of Elements of Newspaper Design.

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