Jeff “Podunk” Pelline’s animus toward The Union is well-known in these parts–hell, he’s been obsessing about the place ever since they cut him loose several years ago. But his hatred of the paper can make him look like a fool, as his criticism of today’s edition shows.
Podunk’s latest complaint is that the paper gave its “prime real estate”–the upper right-hand corner of page one– to a story about 25 locals who traveled to San Francisco to participate in a pro-life march while “The Women’s March plays second fiddle to this ‘news’ on the first page.”
For those of you who aren’t familiar with the inner workings of newspapers, it has been believed for many years that the upper right-hand corner on page one is the most important spot in the newspaper, and that’s where the day’s most important story should go.
There’s little evidence that a reader’s eye actually gravitates to that spot–putting a big headline there helps–and an editor pointed out to me many years ago that we read left-to-right, not right-to-left. And as Podunk pointed out in a post on his blog earlier Sunday, a new report, “Journalism That Stands Apart,” recommends that newspapers make their stories more visual to remain relevant in the digital age.
Visual includes pictures, such as the three used to illustrate the local Women’s March contingent headed for Sacramento. In fact, that story combined with a roundup of the marches throughout the country got much more space on page one than the pro-life article, and even more space inside the paper.
Bottom line: The Women’s March was given much more prominence than the pro-life march and–I’m willing to bet–attracted a lot more readers. Any fool but Pelline can see that.