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You know as a former AACA editor, I always told other members that their newsletters would look more professional if they "justified" their print. Not ragged left or right, but "even" on both sides. For my part, it was always a suggestion, not a demand.

Of course I have been reading newspapers forever, and it always irked me that even my major state newspaper (Richmond Times Dispatch) does not always justify their print. It finally got to me this morning, when our newspaper's editorial section sent me over the edge.

I started by ringing the Editor. "Well, he must be busy?"

I then rang up the Senior Editor..."Hmmmm, he must be in the same "meeting"?"

Gloria is getting irritated by now. "Why don't you get to work instead of messing around wasting time?" She's always trying to better her partner in life. A shame he is not listening.:D

I finally got the "daily news editor" to answer the phone call. He explained to me, well, first he said that he had nothing to do with the Editorial section. Areas of responsibility, and all that.

Anyway, he explained that "hard news" was always justified, because it was very important. Normal news was ragged right, like spring flower articles, the street dance this weekend, etc.

I then went through the newspaper and sure enough, what he said was true. The jailing of a major official, the murder of the local school teacher were all in "justified print".

Ok, I answered a questioned today (no, Wayne got an "answer" today) about something that has bugged me for years. So, now you don't have to call your newspaper for the answer, although I'm sure your newspaper editor would be doing the same as mine is today.

"Hey, do you know what some Idiot just asked me today?":p

Hey, it takes all kinds, and yes some say I'm one of a kind.

Have a Great Day!

Wayne

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  • 2 weeks later...

I've noticed the decline in newspapers over the years.

I don't mean the loss of readership; I mean the loss of quality.

Look at a newspaper from the 1920's, for instance: it is

probably at least 5 inches wider than the typical city's newspaper

today and has at least a dozen significant articles on the front page

alone. My own local newspaper is 5 inches narrower than it was in

the late 1970's, having narrowed its presentation about 1" every

few years.

As noticeable as the loss of page size is the decline of the quality of

their content. Often, front pages of even large-city papers are filled with

shallow local "features" and big color pictures having little import or significance.

The Wall Street Journal, though narrower, is an exception, and its feature

articles occasionally occupy an entire page with text only and no pictures.

If you look at comics from the early 20th century, you'll see that a SINGLE

Sunday comic strip often occupied half a page in color. Sometimes a strip took an

entire page. Bill Watterson, creator of the "Calvin and Hobbes" strip, has

often criticized the decline of space given to the funnies.

Those declines started well before the internet era. And the narrowing of the

page has been accompanied by narrowing views: The bias of today's

newsmen is legion.

Our newsletters always strive for excellence, insofar as our volunteer contributions

and budgets allow. They report on fun activities and document slices of automotive history.

But I'm sorry to say, Wayne, that I would no longer consider most newspapers as

examples of excellence to imitate!

Edited by John_S_in_Penna (see edit history)
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Our newsletters always strive for excellence, insofar as our volunteer contributions

and budget allow. They report on fun activities and document slices of automotive history.

But I'm sorry to say, Wayne, that I would no longer consider most newspapers as

examples of excellence to imitate!

John, I agree Newspapers have changed. I think money is the driving factor here, though. Cartoons get smaller so they can put in more paid advertising which helps keep the doors open. I often wonder how they can ever get enough income from web news groups to paid for their "free" use to the public.

At any rate, I was surprised that there was so much inconsistency in our local newspaper.

Wayne

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My major complaint about newspapers these days is that the faster printing presses print such fuzzy text. When I was young, they printed nice, sharp letters I could read.

Now, I need glasses.

Sure wish they'd go back to the old style presses.....

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David, while you're searching for your glasses,

pick up an old newspaper from the late 1800's.

Their print was much, much smaller than a modern

newspaper's! And in those days, before technology allowed

photos in newsprint, there may have been an

engraved illustration, but more likely there was nothing but solid text.

And, with eyeglasses or not, people read that

fine print.

If there are any long-term newspapermen out there,

would they care to share their insights on the remarks in this thread?

Edited by John_S_in_Penna (see edit history)
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  • 2 weeks later...
You know as a former AACA editor, I always told other members that their newsletters would look more professional if they "justified" their print. Not ragged left or right, but "even" on both sides.

I've been setting type and designing books professionally for something like 30 years and I think you are 100% wrong on this. Personally, I like justified columns but to do them properly requires a much better sense of size and proportion than about 99% of the volunteer editors who produce club newsletters and magazines have. With one or two exceptions all of the club-related publications I've seen look very amateurish (not just car clubs), especially when they justify columns that are too short for the size of the type. By running ragged right columns you at least get uniform word spacing and it is much easier to eliminate widows. Were I asked for a basic design premise, I'd say 11 or 12 point type over 13 or 14 leading, ragged right on a 20 or 22 pica column with the hyphenation feature turned off. This would also work justified, but as soon as you start running 10 or 12 pica columns you have to reduce the type to 8, or at most 10 point in order to avoid unsightly gaps.

Most of the books I do are set in two, 20 or 22 pica columns... I also work on a magazine that we do in either two or three columns (depending on the article) set 10/12 ragged right. If you really want things to look professional, eliminate the widows (a "widow" is a line with only one word... the worst type is a "hyphenated widow", a line with half a word.) Balance the columns and keep them in line across the page. At most, only the last column can be short and with proper adjustment of illustrations this is almost always avoidable. Make sure captions and text are different enough so that they don't blend into each other. (I usually make captions 2 points smaller than text and bold... or use a serif face for the text and a sans serif face for the captions.) Stick to the traditional "classic" typefaces like Times, Goudy, Garamond, Caslon. They are classic for a reason... they work well. Fancy "specialty" faces have a very limited application, usually the odd headline or title, but are tedious and amateurish as text. Avoid overblown "foofy" typefaces. Practically every computer comes with dozens of them, partly because they were so unsuccessful or short lived in the world of real typography that there is no other use for them. They just look silly but amateurs love them.

And, an afterthought.... NEVER put 2 spaces after a period. This is typewriter stuff. All computer typesetting programs include extra space after the period. Typewriters used uniform letter spacing. Typesetting uses proportional spacing... the space is dictated by the letter where the space on a typewriter is uniform regardless of the letter.

Edited by JV Puleo (see edit history)
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JV Puleo,

Thanks. Now I understand why I generally hate justified type. Now if I can just get my fingers to unlearn that double space after the period that was drilled into me back in my high school typing class. I keep trying, but I usually have to go back and remove one of the two that seem to automatically appear after the period.

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Mr. Puleo, your advice is good. You say,

"With one or two exceptions all of the club-related

publications I've seen look very amateurish..."

As far as our club's regional newsletters go, I agree with you.

One thing which I think A.A.C.A. needs to provide its editors

is a seminar on page composition and graphic design.

And such a seminar needs to be led by someone professional

who KNOWS the topic. Now that we have content, we

need to improve that content. We want to be more professional!

Edited by John_S_in_Penna (see edit history)
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Fred Young<address>V.P. - Publications<address></address>7 W. Prospect Ave.</address><address></address><address>Moorestown, NJ 08057</address><address></address><address> ybarbfred@aol.com

There's the man you guys need to talk to. We're always looking for new blood for our Annual Meeting Seminars. Step right up!

PS, Fred will be in Wisconsin this weekend, so give him time to respond to you.

Wayne</address>

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I am going to reply to this thread and acknowledge that much of what is said is good BUT-- there are some other things to consider.

This hobby is a volunteer organization and especially at the region/chapter level. Many clubs would be happy to just have someone step forward and VOLUNTEER to do a newsletter for them. Some editors cannot get anyone to take over their job as editor because the paper has won a national award and others do not feel they can "compete." It is wonderful to be an award winner and it is a much appreciated recognition. It is also wonderful to step up and say, "I will put together your club news and do the best I can." So along with all of the wishes for more, perhaps "magazine quality" newsletters that will qualify for the awards; we need to encourage those who are putting together the "NEWS" of their club and sharing the "information" needed for their club members. Many of we editors exchange newsletters with other editors and it is just as much joy to see the simple as well as the polished papers because when I read them I know this editor is a caring and interested in the hobby person.

Edited by Bookreader
spelling (see edit history)
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  • 3 weeks later...

Repeating my inquiry from a couple of weeks ago:

Does Fred, the A.A.C.A.'s Vice President of Publications,

participate in these forums, especially this category?

It would be a great way for him to communicate and get input

from many directions.

It would be nice to see more activity in the "Newsletter" forum!

This category used to be more active.

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Mr. Young does not frequent the forums. If you guys have questions or comments I will make sure that he gets them, or you can e-mail them to him. I am on here a lot more than most Board members because I'm also an assistant VP of the Web. I don't know much, but I'm an assistant!. :)

Wayne

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  • 4 weeks later...

Wayne, I was wondering if you had heard back from Mr. Young. I agree with most of what I have read here, in that yes, we are all volunteers and many of us who have volunteered for the job as editor, have no formal training to do so, including myself. I however would LOVE to attend a seminar that is hosted by a professional or semi professional person who does know what they are doing and can TEACH us the best way to edit and publish a newsletter. For those that cannot be at the annual meeting, maybe a video of the seminar can be made so that the editors who cannot attend can see the seminar.

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