25 Aug 2011

Reverse Your Ladder

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If you haven’t already done so, take some time to reverse your ladder — before you begin the new ladder.

In the “down time” between finishing the book and distributing it, let’s take a couple of days to analyze and evaluate our coverage. Kara and Pam suggest that you print your most up-to-date version of the current ladder and make notes on it as you either view your pages in eDesign or flip through your corrected InDesign proofs.

For each spread, make notes about the following:

  • What was the dominant story or package on the spread? For example, if you did a spread on basketball, what story did your coverage triangle (dominant photo/copy/headline) tell?? Was it the game winning shot against McLean?? The player that broke her leg, but still remained on the team as an assistant coach?)
  • What were the other mod packages on the spread? What stories did they tell?
  • Who did you profile on the page? Especially if you profiled underclassmen, we’ll need to know who they are so we can avoid featuring them next year.

After you’ve made notes for every spread on your ladder, consider the “big picture.” Evaluate your coverage by answering the following questions:

  • Which spreads are hardest to get photos for?
  • Which spreads have the most boring photos? Follow up: Can we fix that? Or should we abandon the topic?
  • What groups, classes or topics did you cover too much? Hint: Most of your books read as if everyone in the entire school takes AP classes or electives. Is there anything in the middle?
  • What groups, classes? or topics did you fail to cover?
  • What groups, classes or topics deserve more coverage in the next book?
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