It’s a really important page! Its the first impression to new readers, a hook to get current readers interested, and maybe even a draw for casual or lapsed readers.
Picking out a really interesting and cool photo each week is not an easy task. Some weeks there just isn’t a lot of images to pick from.
And then there’s the headline! What short bit of text do I put on the front page to try and grab a reader’s attention and quickly convey what the image is all about? Do we go informational or witty? Do we do a sub-head, or secondary headline, that provides a it more detail? There’s a lot that goes into that one page!
Let’s take this week.
All week long, from the moment I pick up my printed papers Tuesday afternoon until the end of day the following Monday, I’m looking for a great photo opportunity for the front page. This week it came via a text message on Saturday afternoon.
Earlier in the day on Saturday, a milk truck had a bit of an accident and tipped over at Highway 50 and State Street. By the time I arrived at the scene, the truck was already being put back on its wheels. As I was standing there, taking my own photos, I began to talk to Tyrone Reading. Tyrone happened to live just a few doors down the road from the accident site and was outside when it took place. He showed me some photos that he had taken right after the truck had tipped over.
And just like that, we had a cover shot.
Tyrone was gracious enough to share his photos with me so I could share them with you. As I was cropping and determining how to showcase the scene, I noticed a mass inside of the truck cabin. It’s the driver standing there on his phone! Add that element to the milk spilling out of the tank, and the reflection of the police car in the tank, and you’ve got a pretty interesting and compelling photo.
Now came the question of the headline…
Since no one was injured, I opted to go for a bit wittier of a headline. Originally I considered “The Day the Cereal Went Dry”, but that was a bit long. I had “Udder Chaos” suggested to me by a friend, but that seemed a touch more dramatic than what the situation called for. It was just a one truck accident after all.
The phrase “No use crying over spilled milk” kept getting thrown around a lot in relation to this accident. It seemed a bit too obvious, and too long for my front page, but then another friend suggested a solution.
“Why don’t you just say ‘No use crying…’ and let the reader complete the phrase mentally on their own,” he asked.
Thus a front page was born.
If you’re ever out and about and see something that you think is interesting or newsworthy, take a photo or three and send them my way. I will always give you photo credit and will be eternally grateful for the help.