Weather

Copyright: John Frost Newspapers

The newspaper: The Independent

The date: January 8, 2004

The news event: Global warming and the extinction of the species

What you see

Another strong graphic treatment from The Independent showing how global warming will cause the extinction of a million species.

Background

For many years scientists have been warning the world about the effects of global warming. They have said that the heating up of the atmosphere will make the ozone layer thinner. The increased temperature will speed up the melting of the polar ice caps and cause rising sea levels and the death of many species.

The front page

This was a good front page for The Independent to choose. Why? Because the paper is not afraid to lead the front page with stories that would in the past have been called 'soft' stories. While this is not a 'current event' as such, it is a major story, and it therefore demands a major treatment. This involves giving over most of the front page to the story and graphic, which will have a strong impact at the POS (or point of sale, i.e. newsagents or news sellers around the country). Since its launch in 1986, The Independent has set new standards in design, layout and the use of computer graphics. This was good example of preparing a story and the illustration to go with it in advance. National daily newspapers will first check to see whether there is a good photograph available before deciding how the front page will be designed.

Design

The graphic, which runs across seven columns, is the dominating image on the page. The world is portrayed on a spread-out map, and animals from various continents and countries are displayed around it to show which ones are most at risk from global warming. The page designer has allowed for a long but strong 'splash' or main headline: 'Revealed: how global warming will cause extinction of a million species'. Across the top of the page is a 'promo' or 'puff' panel or 'skyline' that aims to 'sell' to the reader what they can expect to find inside the newspaper that day. There is a great debate among designers and editors as to whether this panel should be placed above or below the masthead, whether it should run down an outside or inside column or whether it should be there at all. In this case it seems right to place it where it is, although it seems to dominate the paper’s masthead because of the strong colours it contains.