Thursday, May 29, 2008

Finishing Touches

With the quarter quickly drawing to a close, the Southeast Ohio newsroom is bustling with staffers and designers pumping their creative juices into catchy captions and vibrant page layouts. All the articles for the Summer/Fall issue have passed through the copy-editing and fact-checking process and consensus has been reached concerning the headlines and decks, finally. At this point, it’s up to the designers which headlines mesh the best with their page layout and picture selection.

The design staff is arranging the carefully crafted articles into flourishing spreads illuminating the spirit of the region. The photographers striking black and white portraits and lively landscapes capture the essence of the writer’s prose and subject matter. Next week the final page proofs are due, so our designers are diligently endeavoring to meet their deadline.

As the magazine’s pages begin to take shape cut lines, also known as captions, for the photographs are being reviewed. Once they receive the copy-editors’ and fact-checkers’ stamp of approval, as well as the head photographers’, the designers will incorporate them into the page layouts.

Next week, the page layouts will be finalized and a decision will be reached on what direction we will be taking with the Summer/Fall Southeast Ohio Magazine’s front and back covers, said Editor-in-Chief Karen.

The SEO staff is putting the finishing touches on the Summer/Fall issue, promising another engaging and insightful cross-section of life in southeastern Ohio. Looking back on the flurry of activity and creativity in the newsroom throughout the development of this issue, it’s amazing to see how much progress has been made and how well things are coming together. It will be exciting to see the final product in print and exhale a sigh of relief that we all worked with each other, sharing our strengths and ideas, to make another issue possible.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

The Evolution of a Headline

It's an unfortunate, universally-known fact about journalism: writing headlines is tough. Today, while the designers worked to arrange photos and stories, a team of several staffers attempted to think of a headline for a photo essay about a paddle-wheeler from Marietta. Here's a behind-the-scenes look at how our staff members [tried to] draft a brilliant headline:

4:07 p.m. Megan and Erin volunteer to draft headline and begin examining the photographs from the story.

4:10 p.m. Megan suggests, "Rolling on a River."

4:11 p.m. Ellen vetoes this, since it's strikingly similar to the headline we are using for another story.

4:12 p.m. The team goes back to the drawing board.

4:15 p.m. Megan's new idea: "Big Wheel Keep On Turning." Everyone agrees how perfect this is. General excitement.

4:16 p.m. Carissa says, "Can we have more options, so we don't infringe on copyright?"

4:20 p.m. Erin becomes obsessed with the word "chooglin'" and can't understand why it can't be used.

4:20 - 4:30 p.m. There is much argument about whether or not "chooglin'" is a real word, or even a viable headline term. It is shot down. General grumbling from Erin.

4:30 - 4:55 p.m. Other ideas develop, including: "Big Wheel," several concepts involving Captain Jack Sparrow, Mark Twain and / or gems and jewels, "Walk the Plank," "Ebb and Flow" and "Tom Cruisin'."

4:58 p.m. No consensus is reached, but Megan types up a list of "good" ideas.

5:00 p.m. The staffers leave, brains aching from so much use. General grumblings again.

So concludes another productive afternoon in the Southeast Ohio newsroom. Maybe we just need to sleep on it...

Thursday, May 15, 2008

"Never Vanilla Ice, But Always A Queen..." and other life stories.

The bad news is, it's week seven of the quarter and staffers around the Southeast Ohio newsroom seem a little stressed. The good news is, all of the stories for our Summer / Fall issue are written and are in the process of being copy-edited and fact-checked. Today, the web staff is hard at work on our community calendar items, Britta is checking lists of subscribers and a team of staffers is formulating catchy headlines. This issue is on its way to completion!

Working together since the beginning of the quarter, our staff has bonded and feels, at the risk of sounding cheesy, a little like a family. On Tuesday, Ellen invited us over her beautiful house to enjoy lasagna and Ohio University's renowned specialty dessert, Ho-Ho cake. Editor-in-Chief Karen had never experienced the joy of Ho-Ho cake, and she said, "It was amazing. It was better than expected."

In other news, Carissa has been named "Mean Editor" and Karen is "Nice Editor." They even have T-shirts to prove it. Yes, we get a little crazy around here. Case in point: fellow web staffer Dana and I did a little survey of our staff members last week, and we received some fascinating answers. Read on:

The question: What journalist would you want to date?
The answers:
Ryan: "Absolutely Jon Stewart. Even if he doesn't want to hold hands."
Katie: "Ted Conover, because anyone who could interview people at a prison must be pretty courageous--and dateable."

The question: If you could be an office supply item, what would you be?
The answers:
Tony: "A stapler, because they always bring things together."
Megan: "What constitutes an office supply? I'd be a Post-It note because I could travel around and be neon-colored."

The question: What would the title of the story of your life be?
The answers:
Erin: "Never Vanilla Ice, But Always a Queen."
James: "Neurotic Photographer Tries to Get Ahead."

So, in between the many, many edits of stories and the multitude of phone calls to fact-check, we still manage to have a little bit of fun.
Until next time,
Meredith ;)

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Final Drafts Imminent!

Greetings again SEO readers!

The SEO newsroom is a flurry of activity as our starburst fueled staff works diligently to bring you, our beloved readers, the next issue of the magazine. The writers are finishing up the final drafts of the department pieces, which will be handed over to Jennifer and Kim and the design staff once they're given the final "OK" from the editors. The feature stories are still being tightened and polished, and are nearly ready for the editing and fact checking process. Needless to say, Managing Editor Carissa Ray's "purple marker of death" has seen quite a bit of use, but it's all part of the process!

I sat down with our wonderful and talented Editor in Chief Karen Grabowski to ask her how she thought things were going down in the trenches. She said, "I am very impressed with the talent and drive of the seniors and one junior in our staff." Laughing, she added, "And people are really pumped about the lasagna dinner."

So never fear, SEO readers, the next issue is coming along quite swimmingly. Stay tuned for more updates, and the long awaited "Quotes heard around the office."

Your friendly neighborhood blogger,