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A news page designer is an individual who typically works for a newspaper or, less frequently, a news magazine. This person will visually, graphically design each page of the publication using various types of design software, ensuring that it adheres to the style preferences of the newspaper editors and the formal style guide that the publication uses. In addition to designing the layout, the news page designer might design graphics and logos as needed, or any other visual representations or advertisements. Some publications will use freelancers for this position, but in most cases this will be a staff position requiring the designer to work in the office.
The job of a news page designer is to create a newspaper so it is visually appealing to read, making buyers want to look through the paper and read the whole stories. The designer also attempts to create visually eye-catching headlines to inspire people to pick up the paper, and makes liberal use of photos and images to supplement the story. Newspapers will generally have a standard layout that they use, and the news page designer will have to make the stories of the day or week fit in this layout in the most visually pleasing, effective way.
Most designers will have a college degree, typically an associate's or bachelor's, in graphic design, or journalism and visual media. It is necessary to use a number of different types of design and layout software, and to have experience with various journalism style guides, to succeed in this position. The job of a news page designer can range from an entry-level to mid-level job at a newspaper, depending on the amount of responsibility an individual is given, and the number of other people he or she works with.
News page designers who work for news magazines have similar job descriptions, though by nature these jobs typically involve more use of graphic design and images, whereas newspapers are more focused on layout and photos. A news page designer might need to work with freelancers to collect photographs for the newspaper, or even in some cases to collect the stories for publication. Usually, however, an individual who works as a news page designer will work independently much of the time, sometimes working late hours as they might be one of the last people who makes additions or changes to a newspaper before it goes to final printing.
News page designers often have a thankless job. If a mistake gets by them, they swing for it. If they have a great page, the editors most often get the credit for choosing good stories.
A good designer who also writes good headlines is worth his or her weight in solid platinum. It's not easy to write headlines day after day, but page designers do it. When you work with these people, you can see a headline and have a pretty good idea of who wrote it.
A great page design might entice someone to buy a newspaper when they otherwise wouldn't. Same goes for a solid headline.
However, when something really big breaks and the page designer doesn't have time to design a knockout page, having an attention-grabbing headline, is a good standby.
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