Front pages (home pages) are an important distribution point for almost any media outlet. Anything from 80% to 50% of all visits to an article stems from the front page in Scandinavia, usually. Internationally, a more normal rate is close to 30%. Which ever camp you’re in, the front page is important for distributing your news.
10 things to remember for front-page editing
- Be the best on on the main topic of the day. Avoid over-promoting stories outside today’s main agenda.
- Don’t automatically promote the best running story, this can cost you a lot of readers. Think holistically.
- Explain the story in the title, the readers are in a hurry, and you need to respect that.
- Don’t tease or oversell in the title. Not ever. Reader trust is a main asset.
- Don’t hold any breaking news waiting for facts. Just be very clear on what you know and what you assume.
- Be careful not to promote reactions to the main topic of the day until the main topic is well established.
- Say “Red Volvo crashed into tree down-town, but noone was injured.” instead of “Car crash in street” Be concrete — not generic.
- Let images sizes and text sizes reflect what you emphasise and put priority on.
- Mix sports with financials and entertainment on the front. Let every page-fold reflect your broad selection of topics. Avoid clustering or sectioning the front page.
- Avoid stock photos and illustrations at all costs. Be specific and relevant, and include people in imagery whenever possible.
Many of these tips are coined at national media outlets, but even as a local paper you can get inspiration from this list. The list is condensed from lecture notes from Morten Øvrebø’s sections of NTB and Aptoma courses in front-page editing in 2012.