Whether you consider layout an art or simply a
mechanical skill, it is clearly an involved, demanding
function. You must acquire the following skills to
become a good layout editor:
A keen news sense to know which stories to
emphasize and how strongly to emphasize them
A good working knowledge of typography
An understanding of graphic design principles
A familiarity with modem newspaper design
Layout duties on ship and station newspapers are
usually handled by the editor, associate editor and
subordinate editors (sports, leisure, and so forth). On
large commercial dailies, front-page layout is usually
done by one of the executive editors managing editor,
news editor or copy editor to ensure top-level
emphasis of particular stories and ideas. Other pages are
done by department editors (sport, feature, editorial) and
by copy editors.
Remember: your layout is your blueprint, and blue-
prints are drawn to scale. So start by making up a standard
layout sheet, showing the page with its columns drawn
either to scale or to size. (A layout sheet of actual page
size is the easiest to use.) The layout sheet should be
marked for column widths. The top of each page should
allow space for showing the issue, the page and the
section of the paper. The best way to indicate where a
story goes is to write in the story slug (the short identi-
fication line that goes right before the writers name on
a piece of copy), as shown in figure 8-8. You can use
keys for art and your headlines can be written in.
As a layout editor, you must be able to determine an
approximate length, in column inches, of a story from
typed copy. (A column inch is one inch of copy,
measured down the column, regardless of the column
width being used.) By making a few simple calculations,
you can determine beforehand how much space the
typed copy will fill when it is set in type (on the basis of
2 3/8-inch or 14-pica-wide column six picas equal
one inch). For most 10-point type, three typewritten
lines, 60 characters wide (on a regular 8 1/2-by 11-inch
sheet of paper) equal one column inch of copy. If other
than 10-point body type is used, check with your
publisher. Your publisher will provide for you a simple
fitting formula for all sizes and styles of typefaces
available, taking into consideration such things as varia-
tions in column widths, differences in fonts, and so forth.
Before forwarding your copy to the publisher, mark
it clearly with all necessary instructions (guidelines) for
the typesetter. If the publisher is going to makeup the
entire page from your layout plan, apiece of copy must
contain the following notations:
l A key to its position in the layout (shown by the
slug on the story and the slug on the dummy).
Q The type and size of headline according to a
headline chart (see Chapter 9).
l The specifics on the size and style of typeface (if
it varies from the standard body type previously
agreed upon between you and the publisher).
l The column width (one column, two columns,
and so forth, should be designated by picas to
avoid confusion with column inch measure-
Once your layout is completed, you should be able
to relax. A good publisher can make up your pages
exactly as you want them from your blueprint, as long
as you have provided the necessary information.
This section has covered layout techniques for
offset printing, but most of the basic ideas covered here
also can be applied to desktop publishing.
Cropping is used when you only want to reproduce
a portion of a picture. Pictures are cropped for the size,
emphasis and composition desired. They are also
cropped to focus on one specific area to achieve a
desired effect in makeup. A picture can be cropped to
show the hugeness or smallness of the topic. It can also
be cropped to delete a dead area.
As a public affairs practitioner, your first
responsibility is to make sure security, accuracy,
propriety and policy are not violated when photographs
are cropped. These areas are explained in the following
SECURITY. During exercises, operational
plans, maps, charts and equipment can be compromised
easily by a photographer. Access is usually limited and
photographers are kept away from secure areas, but
breaches of security may occur in the heat of battle.
As you have heard before, Operational security is
everyones business. When cropping a photograph for
reproduction in your newspaper, you should be aware
especially of the background areas that might reveal
classified information. Remember exercises test war
plans, and those plans cannot be compromised.