Inside Scoop - Week 2: Long nights


Inside Scoop is a weekly column about the operation of the Spartan Daily, San Jose State's student newspaper. Yes, I'm late this week :(

We put out three papers this week: Tuesday ("the pride issue"), Wednesday ("the football team wants to win issue"), and Thursday ("the parking issue").

Tuesday: out at 1:30a.m.

We mostly tried too hard on this issue. We tried to do a cutout on the front page plus a text-wrap illustration, both of which required redesigning the front page later in the evening. Those would might have worked later on in the semester, but hurt us time wise. Also, there's not a single picture of a student on the front page.

I wrote a review of Taylor Swift's Lover that I was rather proud of. Just took me until like 3a.m. to get over my writer's block.

I also helped shoot the women's soccer game the previous Thursday. At the time I was pretty demotivated that our photos did not turn out that well, but they weren't that bad. Some were pretty good.

More importantly, I got to school at 6:30a.m. to deliver the newspaper to the various newsstands around campus. We hadn't hired our carriers yet, so some of us were still filling in on delivery duty. This gave me a decent amount of insight on how people actually consume our newspaper. We usually put teasers for some of the inside content on the bottom of the page, but then they're not visible in our newsstands. So now we're trying just keeping them above the fold.

Wednesday: out at 1:13a.m.

Starting to get a bit faster, but the quality was definitely a bit lower. We messed up on a lot of small design things, like text being too close to lines, jumps being misaligned with columns, and the front page cutline having two people labeled as "(right)".

I don't think we did a great job with the front-page textbook story, mostly because we didn't talk to any professors. It's something we could/should continue to look into, but the importance to students will die down a bit because they're no longer actively purchasing them.

Also, we spelled a name wrong, and that really sucks.

Thursday: out at 1:51a.m.

Yeah, we cut it a little too close to the 2a.m. print deadline. The last four pages to be finished (1, 2, 4-5) were definitely rushed and had some major issues. Mostly it was a lack of planning, and leaving a lot of the design and layout elements until the last minute. We had some paper sketches and dummies, but we really should have thrown stuff into InDesign a lot earlier.

Even though we were doing a doubletruck/spread, the 4 different elements (campus voices, ParkStash story, ALPRs, and infographic) just seem like they were thrown onto the page with no consideration for creating a coherent design. The news packaging was good, but the layout didn't really represent that.

We really killed it in the Opinion section. A fantastic editorial cartoon that overshadowed the editorial, a column about pending abortion care legislation, perspective on gaming and violence, and some memes.

The "Spartan meme of the week" replaces the former "Spartunes" feature, really as an attempt to boost reader engagement. Spartunes involved editors picking a song that fit some theme, and then putting them all in a shared Spotify playlist. The main problem was that the only interesting part about Spartunes was which editor picked which song - and it's only interesting if you know the editors themselves. And given that most people don't, it's not very interesting.

In comparison, people seem to enjoy the memes of the week, and we've already had at least one student submit memes for consideration. That's more reader engagement than Spartunes can claim.

I also delivered the newspaper again today morning. It was fun, and I hope to never do it again. I'm just not a morning person.