Wednesday, September 29, 2010

They had to fill the space somehow, I suppose...

Jan Jarboe Russell in Sunday's San Antonio Express-News:

The only way I see White winning is if Texans wake up on Election Day, see through the haze of anti-Obama fog and suddenly arrive at the conclusion that 14 straight years of Perry — and his political apparatus — is not in our best interest.
 Lovely. So JJR apparently thinks if Perry wins, Texas voters are in a haze. Texas might not be "recession-proof" as Perry claims, but the fact is that Texas has weathered the recession better than pretty much any other state. Of course you don't see Jan Jarboe Russell elaborating on exactly why 14 straight years of Rick Perry's governorship isn't in our best interest. It would have perhaps been in JJR's best interest to elaborate on that, or at least it would have been in the best interests of the page designers working at the Express-News on Saturday night.

And here's a photographic explanation of what I mean by that. Here is a photo of the first paragraph of Russell's column as seen in Sunday's print edition:

For comparison, here's a photo of the first graf of the neighboring Scott Stroud column:

I used to work in the journalism field as a page designer; I have extensive experience with the QuarkXPress page layout program. One of the ways to make a certain piece fit in a certain amount of space with Quark is to adjust the tracking, or the space between letters and words. You track something (decrease the spacing) in to fit in a smaller space, and you track it out (increase the spacing) to make it fit in a larger space.

Anyway, I told you all that to tell you this. It might not be obvious on the first glance, but here's what I could tell. I'm guessing the tracking on Stroud's column was normal, but they had to track Russell's column out to what looked like it might have been its upper limit. She apparently had so little to say that they had to stretch it to make it fit...