A Newsletter

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A Newsletter :

When you're planning a newsletter, consider first the audience and the purpose. Those two elements should help you answer many of the remaining questions. For most newsletters, there are also strong conventions that will govern your design - people expect headlines, columns and photos to be handled in familiar ways. In addition, newsletters usually have regular features (think, for example, of alumni newsletters that always have a Marriages and Births column). Those regular features usually have to vie with whatever you as editor think is the most important story for space on the first page.

Then consider what elements you want to include.

• What stories do you want to run and how long do they need to be?

• What stories do you want on the front page?

• Which is the most important and where should it go?

• What headlines will you use?

• If you want to use pictures, where will you get them and where should they go?

Once you make tentative decisions about content, decide whether it will work best in a two- or three-column format. Remember that articles will need to be shorter for a three-column format. Then do a pencil sketch or two to experiment with different layouts.

How will the newsletter be reproduced? Most newsletters are sent out as print documents, so the costs of printing and postage control much of what you do. But more and more newsletters are sent out as email, which means that you can do much more with color, graphics and so on and that the costs of postage and printing are nonexistent.

Some Suggestions :

• A newsletter needs to have a name, at the top of the page, in a type font and style that reflect the spirit and purpose of the newsletter.

• Put the most important story in the upper right-hand corner.

• Short paragraphs are usually best - newsletter articles aren't essays.

• Consider separating items with borders, boxes or screens.

• Position graphics or photographs near the top of the page.

• Leave plenty of space around elements.

• Try not to crowd things.

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