Wednesday, February 1, 2017

The making of a front page

I've said a lot of times that the most important thing I do here at the newspaper is compose our front page.

Yes, even in the Internet age, I still most days focus on what will appear on Page One from the time I open my eyes in the morning.

And don't even ask what time that is.

Our lead item almost always "marries" a lead headline and a photo. We call that headline our "black line," because back in the day when we printed only in black and white, that headline was almost always done in big, black letter. Other places call it "The Wood." It's the hallmark of all tabloid newspapers. You take a single story and drive it home to readers. Some days we're more successful than others. Some days we outrage readers; some days we hear words of thanks.

I'm always looking for a different way to deliver our lead story in print.

Yesterday I was pretty sure I was going to lead the newspaper with the press conference with county officials and Sunoco Logistics execs touting new jobs amid a $16 million economic shot in the arm being provided at the former iconic Sunoco refinery in Marcus Hook. Staff writer Kathleen Carey was there to get all the details.

I'll leave the argument over the merits - or demerits, depending on your point of view - for another day.

I just wasn't sure what I would use as an image.

Until I saw the photo by Rick Kauffman that appears on today's Page One.

It depicts Marcus Hook Mayor Gene Taylor at the press conference, at the Marcus Hook Community Center, pointing to the Marcus Hook Industrial Complex, which includes the old refinery.

That's when my mind started working. I assure you that's not always a good thing.

Originally, I was simply going to push the notion of the huge upside of the plan for Marcus Hook and the region. But when I saw the photo and realized the company was announcing it was looking to fill 20 new, high-paying jobs, I took a different tack.

That's how today's front page came about, with a headline wondering, 'Where are new jobs in Delco?' and a lead hed (no, that's not a typo, we sometimes refer to it that way. I know there are more than enough typos in the paper every day!) of 'This Way' right atop Taylor pointing the way.

I hope it worked. Feel free to chime in if you think it was off the mark. What do you think? Want to be editor for a day? Here's your chance.

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