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We hear a lot of that around the office in September. Associate editor Mark Reynolds, staff writer Sylvain-Jacques Desjardins, the newspaper you're reading, and I all came into being this month. One of us even shares the birth year of the McGill Reporter, which turns thirty-five. It's a good age. With today's healthy lifespans, thirty-five is no longer seen as middle-aged, and has a certain maturity without being flighty or dowdy.
But it was time to update the look. The cost of colour printing is cheaper than ever and technology is more reliable, so we spruced up the Reporter by going polychromatic on the back, front and centre. As well, a redesign was in order.
The Reporter's intrepid design editor Sally Warner and I furrowed our brow over fonts, debated masthead protocol and headline readability and called upon friends, readers and experts in graphic design for advice. Like Henry VIII trying to settle on a wife, it was tough to find a font we could live with. (Some had weird italics, others had odd bolds, were too fussy, or had no em-dash...)
Mark and I hashed over ideas for stories and formats. Sylvain and editorial assistant Laurie Devine chimed in with their opinions. Surveys, formal and informal, were undertaken.
A big thanks to the 220 people who responded to our online survey. We're still crunching numbers and sifting through the feedback, both positive and negative. Even our detractors read us closely enough to peg our style. One respondent wrote: "If the Reporter did a piece on a meteorite that was about to crash onto the downtown campus, it would be titled "McGill researcher discovers space rock", and the lede would begin, "Have you ever wondered what it would be like to see a white-hot stone flying towards your telescope? Well, the folks over at McGill's Centre for Things that Will Kill Us All found out last week, as a giant meteorite..." [Note to selves: change lede style.]
Our redesign uses two fonts --the appropriately named "Daily News" for the story text, and "Nobel" for headlines. The front page is more fluid, allowing for either horizontal or vertical photos, and either two or three stories. Page two still has Kudos, and we've kept the staff and undergraduate student profiles and media soundbites on page three. We now have a place for briefs on page five and our centre page will be reserved for longer stories or photo essays, to take advantage of our new colour spectrum. There is a designated Policy Matters page, for senate reports and news of note. The Community Calendar and On-Campus sections are now on the same double spread. McGill is not an island, so our back page will feature off-campus goodies -- website picks, nearby restos, books or CDs -- as well as first-person opinion pieces and stories by those in the university community.
Foundations pieces will appear now and again to remind us of McGill's capricious past. You can expect regular pieces on graduate student research and features on the investigations, discoveries, theories, and projects that make McGill such a dynamic place to be. (If you know of some fascinating graduate projects or have an interesting story to tell, please get in touch.)
We'll strive to cover all faculties and units -- and be entertaining as well as informative. Our twelve pages can only hold so much, but we'll make them count.
The result of our efforts? You be the judge, and feel free to let us know. It's your newspaper.