Editions Of A Newspaper


From the great number of stories that enter the newspaper office in a single night, ten to fifteen or more must be selected for the front page. In some offices his responsibility falls upon one of the assistants to the night editor in charge, and it is to facilitate his work that the summaries of news stories are kept. In other offices the conference system is used, under which the city, national and foreign editors confer with the higher executives and recommend of the first page their chief stories. In this case, summaries are unnecessary.

Many stories are obviously first-page stories, others are doubtful. On the latter, conferences may be held by the editor in charge of the task with his colleagues or superior. If there are more stories of sufficient importance to be displayed on the front page than space permits, they must be weighed against one another. The ten or fifteen or more stories must be weighted to determine their relative importance so that they may be displayed in that order.

The columns of the first page generally are rated, as to display value in a regular one-column head make-up, in the following order: 8, 1 or 6, 3, 7, 5, 4, 2. The right-hand side above the fold of the paper is the best display space because that quarter of the newspaper can be seen if the paper is folded on the newsstand. Because of this, column 6 has excellent display value, although column 1 is generally considered to be the best after column. Nowadays newspapers are placed flat on the newsstand but this does not alter the values materially. Columns 1, 3, 6 and 8 are considered to have more display value than the columns 2, 4, 5 and 7 because of the former require “top heads, “that is, headlines that extend up to the top of the page and are therefore larger, while the stories must consider balance also, and so place one-column and two-column boxes, cuts, maps and other typographical devices so that the display is attractive. This is especially important when the leading story in column 8 requires a headline that spreads over two, three or more columns. Such a layout frequently alters the display value of the columns and requires special care in balancing the whole page. Balance does not necessarily mean regularity, which may serve only to diminish the display value of the whole page. In addition, to the chief stories selected for the first page, minor short stores may also be used to break up long columns of type or to give a pleasing effect of irregularity.

The front page of a morning newspaper may not change from first edition to last, but the afternoon newspaper, with perhaps six conditions, is likely to change the first page make-up for each condition. This is because the afternoon paper is being published while most of the day’s news events are occurring and continual shifting of stories is necessary to keep pace with events. The early or “bulldog” edition of an afternoon newspaper may contain chiefly the same stories that appeared in the late editions of the morning newspapers in a rewritten form and as new events occur the early stories are shifted from the first page to the inside of the paper and from the forward pages to the back until finally the least important drop out and the more important are retained on less conspicuous pages, unless new developments enhance their value.

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