Cathy Darby

Forget
constitutional significance. Charles and Camilla’s announcement
was perfectly timed for next morning’s lecture on headlines. Live
topics such as the Daily Star ‘s curmudgeonly splash “Boring Old Gits
To Wed” must make journalism the best subject to teach.

Few
tutors in other subjects can have such course material. The Indy ‘s
front page – listing “the news you may have missed” and placing the
royal engagement in a box at the bottom – was even more interesting in
the light of what Preston alumnus and Indy editor Simon Kelner told our
students earlier that week about one of their most successful covers,
Whitewash. Journalists should be in dialogue with their readers, he
said, and that page, the day after the Hutton report was published,
reflected the public mood. Presumably the nonmonarchist Indy felt it
was tapping into a general indifference.

On the last day of legal
hunting the Indy ‘s front page carried an eye-averting picture of
hounds tearing a fox apart and the headline The Thrill of the Chase is
Over. Judging by last Sunday’s newspapers, however, the real chase has
just started.

Shades of The Da Vinci Code, Ian Peacock’s
delightful programme From Arial To Wide Latin on BBC Radio 4 revealed a
trade secret: fonts send subliminal messages. The curly bits on serif
typefaces urge readers to move on. Horror writer James Herbert, who,
bizarrely, confessed that he likes nothing better than browsing through
typefaces, pulped an entire run of one of his books when it was printed
in Times New Roman and not Plantain.

Very fine serifs are regarded as feminine, evident from new “weekly glossy” Grazia ‘s stylish masthead.

Coincidentally,
our magazine students are producing their own “gritty glossy” for
intelligent women which includes the reportage missing from this
Italian import. If only British publishers were as confident in their
readers’ ability to handle features as their continental counterparts.

The delectable Grazia would lose nothing by blowing some of the celebrity froth off its cappuccino.

Cathy Darby Course leader Masters in Magazine Journalism University of Central Lancashire

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